A lunch club which provides a lifeline for people in Salford has received a much-needed cash boost just in time for the festive season.
St James Lunch Club and Food Pantry in Higher Broughton has been given £1,000 from housing association Salix Homes as part of its Springboard fund.
The cash-injection has enabled the organisation to get ready for Christmas Day, when they’ll be providing a hot meal and some festive cheer to people who would otherwise be on their own over the festive period.
The grant has been used to purchase a new display chest freezer, which will allow them to expand the lunch club and food pantry and, most importantly, be able to store food to cook on Christmas Day.
Rev Christine Threlfall, who runs the initiative along with nine volunteers, said: “For people affected by poverty, Christmas can be a very difficult and lonely time, but thanks to this donation from Salix Homes, we can ensure that some local people in our city can look forward to a brighter Christmas this year.”
The lunch club runs at St James Church every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 11am and 1pm to provide a free hot meal and companionship to anyone who calls by. This is particularly appreciated by people on low incomes, or who are experiencing isolation.
Every week up to 60 people pass through its doors from a wide range of backgrounds, they could be homeless or just experiencing loneliness and it gives them a chance to socialise and make friends.
Margaret Tilsley, who regularly attends the lunch club, said: “The lunch club is more than just a place to eat. It’s a place for people to get some much-needed company and have a chat with friends.”
Children can also get in on the action, with the church running a kids lunch club on Friday mornings during school holidays, which aims to ensure children are getting a hot meal when they’re not at school.
The food pantry runs alongside the lunch club which allows members to choose a bag of 10 food items for just £2.50.
Produce and food donations are provided by the charity Fareshare, and local Jewish charity L’Chaim.
Rev Threlfall added: “We are different from a food bank in that we look to more long-term solutions for people who come to us. Inclusivity is fundamental to our project, and we are always looking for new volunteers to add to our friendly mix and help isolated people feel valued and welcome.”
The project is one of the first to benefit from Salix Homes’ Springboard fund, which provides cash boosts to local groups and initiatives that are making a difference in Salford.
Since launching Springboard this summer, Salix Homes, which owns more than 8,300 properties in Salford, has donated almost £30,000 to local causes.
Ben Cruickshanks, Broughton neighbourhood manager at Salix Homes, said: “We are very proud to support this fantastic initiative which provides a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable people in Salford.
“We hope this donation will go some way towards expanding the fantastic work done by St James’ Lunch Club and Food Pantry and ensuring that the people it supports can enjoy a happy Christmas this year.”
To find out more about how to apply for a Springboard grant, go to: https://www.salixhomes.org/springboard
For more information about the St James’ Lunch Club and Food Pantry, go to https://stjamesbroughton.com/place-of-welcome-come-on-in/ or visit their Facebook page. To reserve your place at the Christmas Day lunch or to enquire about volunteering positions, contact Reverend Threlfall on 0161 792 208 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.