Broxtowe Youth Homelessness (BYH) is encouraging people to live on the contents of an emergency food parcel for a week to help raise funds for its vital work.
BYH has seen a huge increase in demand for its services, with the number of young people coming to them for help more than doubling in the last two years – up from 88 in 2017/18 to 182 in 2018/19.
As well as providing a drop-in centre and support with education and training, one of the key services the charity offers is emergency food parcels. These basic rations make a huge difference to young people who otherwise may not know where their next meal is coming from.
The charity’s new Food Parcel Challenge is designed to help raise funds for its work, but also to raise awareness of the day to day realities for many of the young people it helps.
It will run from 13-19thSeptember and people are being encouraged to get sponsored to live on a food parcel, or donate the difference between the cost of the food parcel ingredients and their usual weekly shop.
Jessica Brannan, Project Manager, said: “Living on the contents of a food parcel is not as easy as some people might have you believe. The rations really are basic and meals can become very repetitive.”
“We hope the challenge will help to shine a light on the struggles faced by the young people we help. We’ll be profiling our work on social media throughout the week and in the run-up to the challenge.”
“Homelessness is a growing problem in society and we are seeing a big increase in demand for our services locally. A lot of people think it’s something that won’t happen to them but it really can affect anyone and it’s vital that we raise awareness.”
BYH is based in Stapleford and helps young people aged 16-25 across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The charity is now in its 35th year and has helped over 300 young people in the past two years alone.
It focuses on giving young people the support they need to empower themselves to build a better future. It also works with schools across the area to help teach pupils about the realities of homelessness. All its volunteers are former service users who have been supported to successfully move on from homelessness.
Jamie Slack, 25, has been using the service on and off for several years. He said: “There have been times when I was homeless that I’ve gone for several days without food. Knowing that you can come somewhere like this and get help with an emergency food parcel is amazing and helps to take the pressure off.”
“People always think that being homeless is never going to happen to them, but you just don’t know. Sometimes something small can snowball and before you know it you don’t have a roof over your head. It can be very scary, but having somewhere like Broxtowe Youth Homelessness where you can come and get support – and friendship – makes a real difference.”
The campaign is being supported by Nottingham South MP Lilian Greenwood, who visited BYH’s headquarters earlier this month to see the impact of their work.
She said: “I’ve seen the way in which welfare reforms and cuts to local public services, including housing support, have hit young people especially hard. The work that BYH do is absolutely vital in helping young people facing homelessness – not only providing practical help to deal with a crisis but also giving them the skills and confidence to get their lives back on track.”
“I’m supporting their Food Parcel Challenge to ensure more people hear about their work and the difference it makes.”
Nationally, around 103,000 young people experience homelessness in the UK every year.
For more information on the food parcel challenge, including a list of the contents of an emergency food parcel and suggested meal plan for the week please use the link below. #BYHFoodParcelChallenge