The Phoenix Residents’ Group is an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of people in the Phoenix area of Brighton and nearby. As the Covid-19 crisis unfolded, Sarah, Chair and Amy-Lou, secretary, coordinated local action. They brought in local stakeholders like Hyde Housing, the council and the local community forum. It became apparent that the area needed a food hub as it fell between other beneficiary areas and was a pocket of high need. This was a new project for the residents’ group and it now delivers to 30 households each week.
Emma, TDC’s community worker, helped by advising on governance and safeguarding, including operational roles and processes:
- Sarah had informal training to develop her online access and proficiency so she could attend emergency food network meetings and learn from peer projects across the city.
- Amy Lou was mentored in interviewing skills for managing referral processes.
- Another bank’s lead volunteer was brought in to offer advice and peer support on coordinating packing & delivery.
An important aspect not to be lost in all this ‘need’ is the huge value in the community member’s opportunity to ‘give’:
- Tina, who is currently shielding, has written a recipe book based on the contents of the food parcels and has helped with researching costings on purchased supplies.
- Simon who delivers to the furthest-away properties on a regular basis and has built a good rapport with some very vulnerable service users and acts as a local befriender.
“We couldn't do this without the support of all of our volunteers and have a fantastic network of volunteers from our community who are dedicated to supporting those most in need.”
Sarah, Chair of the Phoenix Residents' Group.
As with Moulsecoomb & Bevendean, the Phoenix group is being networked with local partners to look at more sustainable long-term projects that can mitigate food poverty. For the future, the group hopes to create a community food club or collective of some sort, enabling local people to buy reasonably priced, healthy food.