Reflecting on a Summer of Support to Fight the Cost of Living Crisis

Over the summer Black Prince Trust were able to take our support for local families to another level in partnership with The Felix Project, Streatham Action and Lambeth Council, helping to provide Lambeth residents with 18,500kg of food as well as kitting out kids for the new school year. 

Through our partnership with The Felix Project, twice per week we receive and distribute 400-600kg of food per week to those who need it most. What we receive depends on what food Felix Project have saved from waste on any given day, but can cover everything from breakfast cereals and porridge to fresh fruit and vegetables to meat, poultry and vegan products as well as healthy ready meals cooked by the Felix Project kitchen. Our weekly distribution is the equivalent of providing between 1,920 and 2,880 meals, or enough to feed 290 families for a single day. 

Over the summer, our usual food vans were complimented by huge lorries full of fresh fruit and vegetables as we trialled a direct supply initiative with Felix Project over a five week period. They organised lorries to bypass their depot and come direct to our site from farmer’s markets or Heathrow airport.  

Ideally placed with a central London location and car park facility, we acted as a distribution hub for the borough. Messages went out to charities and community groups running summer programmes as well as food action projects such as The Platform Café at Loughborough Junction (pictured) to come to our Hub from across Lambeth to collect. 

A coordinated team effort, supported by our Lambeth-funded Community Living Room programme, enabled groups from across the borough to come and collect food which meant that we reached supported communities as far from our Kennington hub as Dulwich and West Norwood.  Every programme that engaged children over the summer holiday received enough fruit for 2 pieces per day per child, and we also provided considerable support for our Over 55s programme that runs across Lambeth. 

Thanks to our hugely productive partnership with Felix Project, good food is saved from waste with the weighted equivalent of 20,400 meals worth of food given to those most in need over the course of the summer holidays – we are hopefully that the resounding success of this trial will see it repeated in future school holidays. 

Helen Stanley, Community Coordinator from Felix Project said: “The Felix Project is delighted to continue its partnership with Black Prince Trust which started with supporting snacks for the over 55s drop-in sessions to now providing food to the many families and local residents or those who take part in the many activities at BPT. BPT offer a hub in the local area and it is fantastic to see how many people they support.” 

BPT’s Health and Wellbeing Project Lead, Beverley de Valmency, reflected on an incredible summer of support through our food programme building on the foundations of our Felix Project partnership over the last two years: “Our Community Food Project launched in 2021 and remains at the heart of our environmental conscience and sense of responsibility to the health and wellbeing of our community. Need has and continues to increase dramatically. We constantly strive to meet demand, not just to feed but to provide a wide and healthy range of food for all ages and cultural preferences. We are so thankful to all at the Felix Project for continued support and trusting us to deliver additional services over the summer.” 

In addition to feeding those off school, we also helped to clothe children about to return to school and ease the concern over cost of new uniform in collaboration with Lambeth Council and Streatham Action.   

One Saturday before the school term recommenced, BPT’s café space hosted a pre-loved school uniform giveaway which saw 172 items of uniform distributed from trousers and shirts to dresses and cardigans as well as some sportswear and footwear. Items provided to the community had a purchase value of close to £2,000, a huge collective saving for families hit hardest by the cost-of-living crisis. 

Following on from the success of this programme BPT will be working with partners to offer this again in the future and help take the strain from local families wherever possible. 

Beverley de Valmency reflected on another impactful initiative over the summer, noting that “distributing pre-loved School Uniform, shoes, and sportswear is another opportunity for increased sustainability and to negate the cost-of-living crisis.  With the expense of school outfitting imposing great financial pressure on families, and we were delighted that Streatham Action and Lambeth asked us to be part of this programme. What a privilege to enable so many families to come to BPT and kit out kids for the academic year about to commence – all for free.” 

BPT are hugely grateful to our valued partners for working with us to provide such essential goods to our local community. We look forward to building on these excellent and impactful partnerships to keep supporting our local community in areas where we can make the most profound difference.