By Fareeha Usman, Being Woman
We’ve faced some of the most challenging times of our lives over the last few months - but thanks to the hard work of organisations like Good Things Foundation, small charities like ours have been able to stay afloat.
Things have been unbelievably hard for the communities we work with. Many people were thrown into an emergency situation in March, finding themselves not only struggling to deal with the new restrictions, but unable to even feed their families. They were desperate for assistance but felt cut off from other sources of help. We knew we had to reach out and support them.
We have worked closely with FareShare North East in the past, helping them to rescue surplus food and redistribute it to people in need. There were lots of overheads that arose from this, like fuel, staff and volunteer expenses.
After being awarded the Response and Resilience Fund grant from Good Things Foundation, we were able to address some of these costs as well as look at new opportunities to move our services forward. There was an urgent need for a 24-hour accessible digital platform to manage the food sharing operation, so we decided to make an app that would make the process easier for everyone.
Our vision was clear: whether it was families ordering food or supplies, volunteers collecting and packing food parcels, or staff maintaining the records, everything should be just a click away.
With our new app people can choose to get their food box delivered or choose to collect it from our centre. They can select their subscription pattern according to their circumstances - telling us if they need the food to be delivered to them urgently, weekly, fortnightly or monthly. The urgent food boxes will be delivered to people within 24 to 48 hours. The app is in the advanced development phase and will be launched soon thanks to the investment from Good Things Foundation.
The Response and Resilience Fund award has also helped us manage our overall cash flow pressures. It has given us the cushion to continue with our services and make our own decisions as to how the money is spent.
For example, during our recent Eid and Ramadan project we were able to hire more volunteers, as we could meet their expenses and cover fuel costs for essential travel.
We know there are lots of other organisations across the UK that have also benefited from this fund released by Good Things Foundation. It’s a fantastic example of how teamwork during a crisis can lead to a hugely positive impact on the community.
Brought together by Good Things Foundation, the Online Centres Network is made up of over 5,000 grassroots organisations, all working to tackle digital and social exclusion by providing people with the skills and confidence they need to access digital technology.