PCC Commissioner Fund helps save vital Stroud charity

A DONATION from Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s Fund has helped to save a charity in Stroud.

PCC Martin Surl’s fund, which aims to improve community safety as well as create new initiatives, has eased financial worry for the Severn View Food Project.

The fund sets aside £1 million a year to support grass roots Gloucestershire charities working with communities.

Speaking on the donation, Debbie Young, founder of Severn View, said: “This year I feel it is the first year I have not had to begin by worrying about the money.”

Every week, for three years, Ms Young has been running a number of lunch and breakfast clubs for the county’s older generations, bringing people together and helping create community, friendship and hope.

The amount of people who used the charity exceeded Ms Young’s expectations.

And while more people have come use the project’s services, the financial demands have increased too.

“When I first started I thought we would get two or three people to start with,” said Ms Young, who is also a councillor for Stroud and Chalford.

She added: “By the middle of the first week we had 30 to 40.

“There is a lot of isolation around, perhaps because people have lost a partner, and as a result people can lose all interest in food or in anything.

“In those cases perhaps a friend will bring them along to the lunch club and they generally seem to really like it.”

The donation has now helped ease financial concerns for the charity.

Ms Young said: “We have had two lots of money from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s fund and it is fantastic.

“It has helped us to get to where we are.

“What has happened is the clubs have become hubs. PCSOs come along, as well as doctors, because they can see 30 people in one place.

“That is just one of the valuable social benefits.”

The food project originally started in schools to promote healthy eating.

“I was asked if I could start a lunch club for older people in Chalford – and we’ve been doing that for three years now,” said Mrs Young.

“We have always been community led, it has not been about me going along to see who wanted to do a lunch club, it is about people in the community coming to see us and saying they would like one.”

The charity also works with Waitrose in Stroud, which Ms Young praises for generously supplying the charity with food, some of which it re-distributes to other needy charities in the Five Valleys.

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