27th October 2020

Wide ranging support from the Hub

Even before the current Covid-19 crisis hit, there were already families and individuals benefitting from the support offered by the Hub on Church Street.

The organisation, which is in its 6th year of operation, is run by a team of 30 volunteers, working 2 or more hours per week each, and together they provide a huge and sometimes unexpected wealth of support to those facing difficulties such as :

  • Debt and welfare advice
  • Computer/internet access
  • Support filling out forms/applications
  • Counselling and emotional support
  • Liaison with police and social services
  • Emergency items for rough sleepers
  • Food bank provisions and food box distribution
  • School Food Boxes during holidays to supplement the lack of free school meals

Based in an old bank building which was converted in 2015, it was furnished with donations and surplus equipment from Wiltshire College, local churches, Wiltshire Council and Selwood Housing, Chair of the Hub and Town Councillor Laurie Brown explained.

“It was fantastic that we were able to kit the building out through the generosity of others and by re-using items which were no longer required elsewhere, yet were perfectly fit for purpose.”

Running costs and maintenance also have to be covered so early in 2020, the Town Council awarded the Hub £5000 to help with flood damage, a new sump pump, a boiler and the costs of street signage and associated permissions.

The Hub, affiliated with the Trussell Trust, continues to provide services and food thanks to financial and consumable donations from the community, and in recent months, many have realised the relatively fortunate position they find themselves in compared to others, and have dug deep to help out, with around 30 food parcels a week being given out during lockdown, as well as further food box distribution to boaters and schools.

The ongoing pandemic and its ramifications continue to dominate the news, and with tens of thousands of people in the UK alone having already lost their lives, the economic impacts continue to deepen, affecting people who might never have anticipated losing their incomes or businesses, through to those already struggling with the realities of day-to-day survival.

The Town Council have therefore provided a further £2500 in recent months, in order to assist the higher demand for food box provision, donated via Bradford on Avon’s Covid-19 Response Fund, a crowdfunding campaign set up by the Town Council in March.

Going forward, it seems likely that more and more families and individuals may find themselves in need of help, and Volunteer Coordinator Avril Clarke notes that;

“We are all just steps away from poverty, which a change of circumstances can bring on suddenly. There is absolutely no shame in reaching out for help when you need it as anyone of us could unexpectedly need to seek help in one form or another in the future. We are here to provide that safety net, and you are not alone.”

(Pictured: Volunteers along with Chair of the Hub and Town Councillor, Laurie Brown, and Volunteer Coordinator, Avril Clarke)

If you would like to support the Hub, there are many ways to do so:

  • DONATE FOOD: In date, sealed food items can be donated at BoA’s Sainsbury’s, Co-ops as well as at Westwood and Winsley stores;
  • DONATE MONEY: You can make a one off donation or transfer, or set up a monthly direct debit – find out more by emailing: BOAcommunityhub@gmail.com or call 01225  920748 (10am-1pm Mon – Fri);
  • DONATE cardboard boxes, which can be used for food parcels – multi pack printer paper boxes from offices are ideal.

And with Christmas around the corner, the Hub is particularly keen to receive Christmas items over the first two weeks of December, which can be added to boxes of those who really want to make it special but do not have the means:

  • DONATE CHRISTMAS ITEMS: such as mince pies, Christmas puddings, crackers and treats via the food bank collection points in local stores or to the Hub directly during opening times.

For more information about the Hub visit: http://www.boahub.co.uk

Photos Lydia Booth Photography