After two years of prayer, Living Waters Christian Centre decided to launch a Food Bank in Brockley. Honor Oak Community Centre PMC gave us the premises to use each week and to store food supplies. We signed up to Esther Community Enterprise which enabled us to receive perishable food from supermarkets that is near the use by date. We received a start up grant from the London Borough of Lewisham and launched the Food Bank on 24th October 2012.
Over the first year of operation, we have been inundated with querires and questions relating to housing, immigration, finances and jobs. In October 2013, the Food Bank leaders decided to take our service a step further than just giving the much needed food by introducing four new elements:
1. Leaflets. Each week, leaflets of services that exist in Lewisham are made available for our customers to take if they feel they are applicable to their individual circumstances.
2. We have signed up several professional bodies and issued them with "Food Vouchers" which they can give to their customers who they feel would qualify for our service. The vouchers are redeemed at our food service which opens on Wednesdays.
3. Our cooking classes were introduced in February 2012. We partnered with London Borough Lewisham "Love Food Hate Waste" and ran one session with a professional cook to get a feel of the programme. As a result, we decided to run the classes starting in October 2013, once a month on Wednesday afternoon for four months. The classes have been run well and we were featured in the "ezines" monthly magazine in November 2013. Katrina Binns, our cook has done a great job giving folk cooking tips and teaching them how to make the best of left over or little food that may be available in their homes.
4. As part of staying and being healthy, our church has also put on a series of exercise classes on Saturday 7th, 14th, 28th June and Saturday 5th & 12th July 2014. A professional trainer from the "Glass Mill Leisure Centre" came and ran these classes for us. The training will took place at "The Cage" on Turnham Road behind the flats by the Lewisham Homes Office. We are grateful to London Catalyst who gave us a grant of £1,000.00 to run both the cooking classes and the exercise classes. The classes were free and despite the rain which we had for but one week, it was enjoyed by all who attended.
The whole idea is helping folk move to a healthier and better life style. We ask our customers (those experiencing hardship) to provide proof of benefits, proof of address and proof of their hardship situation when visiting our Food Service".
We have been featured in Phoenix Housing newsletter. You may read more about what they had to say here http://phoenixch.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/phoenix_comm_news_dec2013_hg5.pdf
The Community Centre was opened weekly on Wednesdays between the hours of 7pm - 8:30pm to the general public and have been running for over five years in this format. During this time we have helped three other Food Services start up. Two in the Borough (Whitefoot and Downham Community Food Service and Barley loaves). The third is running in the Old Kent Road area.
At the time of start up, there were only two other Food Bank in operation in the borough. Now there are at least seven located at different points in the borough. Our weekly numbers have been reduced from 58 on our highest count to less that 20. On 21st February 2018, LWCC made a decision to reduce our opening frequency from weekly to fortnighly. An ID with your name and address as well as proof of benefit or proof of hardship will still be required for access to the Food Service. (Please note, Child Benefit is not accepted as proof of benefit and a form (FS1) will need to be filled in on the initial visit and ever six months thereafter.
As a result of several frequent requests for prayer, we are launching a dedicated Prayer Team to be exclusively available to pray with anyone who requests prayer. Look out for folk with the yellow badges!
We want to thank our volunteers, supporters, partners and donors to the Food Service. We continue to receive donations of food and toiletries from anyone willing to give. Financial contributions and food vouchers may also be sent to LWCC offices at Huxbear House, Huxbear Street, Brockley SE4 1EA. Cheques made payable to Living Waters Christian Centre please.
Non perishable food items may be given to the Food Service on Sundays between the hours of 10am - 2pm and Wednesdays from 6pm - 8:45pm. Someone will be at the Centre to take your donations and to thank you. A poster with the drop off day and times will be on display. Please use the disabled entrance to drop off your donations on Sundays and the main entrance on Wednesdays.
We have also prepared credit card size reminder cards to place in your purse or wallet reminding you to pick up an extra item of food when you do your shopping. Cards are laminated for endurance and are available from our Missions Department. If you would like one of these cards or for more information, see Joy or Yvonne P. or email us at email@example.com and we will be happy to help you.
Again we want to thank everyone who has contributed to this project and also for your continuing support as this is an on-going project. All of our volunteers have been trained and those collecting food from the supermarkets have completed an on line course in Food Handling and have certificates to prove that they have succesfully completed the course. If you would like more information or would like to contribute to the Food Service, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and someone will be in touch with you.