Volunteer Claire Fisher on how a group of local not-for-profit organisations teamed up to make a difference
When charities and support groups work together, amazing things happen.
Those of you working for Enfield’s charity sector will already know just how much the most vulnerable people in our community rely on small local services and groups to keep them going. There’s been some real heartwarming stories throughout the pandemic of local heroes working tirelessly to feed and support the most vulnerable among us.
So, I wanted to take a moment to look at this from the perspective of someone on the receiving end of this help, and discuss how being able to simultaneously contribute to helping others has made a real difference for them.
Last month members of local mental health charity Enfield Club House, including Pat Collins, went along to Bounces Road, Edmonton, to donate some fresh fruit and vegetables to The Pantry, a food club where people on low incomes can access fresh nutritious food and support such as financial advice.
This followed work that Pat and other members of Enfield Club House have been doing over the last six months in helping to set up a community allotment, as part of a project from Bountagu Big Local, which is growing fresh produce for sharing in the community. Bountagu is a National Lottery-funded, resident-led initiative with the ambition to support and improve the area of Edmonton around Bounces Road and Montagu Road, and the allotment project is part of its environmental remit.
For Pat, the work on the allotment and subsequent donation to The Pantry, a small act of kindness, helped make a big difference to his self-esteem. He said: “I feel a real sense of pride being able to give something back to the community.
“This allotment has been great for me, being outside, doing something useful, learning about healthy food and being part of a team working together, has been brilliant. It kept me going.”
In return for helping set up the allotment, Enfield Club House has been able to use the space as part of its weekly therapy sessions every Wednesday. As lead volunteer for the allotment project, it has been a pleasure to get to know the members of Enfield Club House and, I can honestly say, we couldn’t have done it without them.
There are five main pillars to keeping on track with mental health; connecting with others, being active, learning, taking time to enjoy the moment, and giving back. Not only does this project help tick all five boxes for Enfield Club House members, but everyone at The Pantry, Bountagu Big Local, as well as ordinary residents, has hugely benefited from the project, too.
We all need to accept help sometimes and, by being involved in doing something meaningful when you’re in that place, it can give you a sense of dignity.
For more information about Enfield Club House:
Call 020 8373 6387
Email [email protected]
For more information about Bountagu Big Local:
Call 020 8807 5827
Email [email protected]
For more information about The Pantry:
Call 07943 554 926