Recently our intern Esme visited Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project and this is what she found.
The BUCFP offers a huge variety of activities, usually drop in, for people to come and take part in. From educational classes like learning Spanish or Japanese to yoga, welfare rights and days out on their very own allotment, there seems to be an activity to suit everyone. Upon my arrival I could see people having chats with tea and coffee, playing with their children with the selection of toys in the centre.
A beneficiary Mrs Morris* our intern Esme spoke to had been attending the BUCFP on Wednesdays specifically for the sewing club for 5 years, as she knows how to use the sewing machine she often finds herself skill sharing and “helping others to learn”. Jason* told me how he was first introduced to the BUCFP by the job centre and has gradually become more involved by “helping out and volunteering”. Jason described the centre as ‘buzzing at lunchtime’ and was keen to make sure that the centre becomes as accessible and used as possible as ‘it’s a great resource’.
Food at the BUCFP
Volunteers at the BUCFP cook a cheap, warm, vegan lunch every weekday, attendees can get a piled up plate (or‘large portion’) for just 1.20, or a bowl sized portion for 60p. Throughout the day other food services are available too. There are hot and cold drinks from the tea room, once again manned by volunteers, from 30p. At certain points in the day there is also a volunteer manned store cupboard of reduced price health food stuffs (provided and manned by infinity foods) and a box of FareShare food that the centre doesn’t need is available to take items from.
Beneficiaries are very positive about the project, noting that the ‘atmosphere is great’ and that it ‘feels like an actual community’.
Impact of FareShare food
Ellie, who works with volunteers at the service, described how ‘the biggest impact would be the variety of food we can offer’, the BUCFP has ‘such a tight budget’ they don’t have money to buy luxury items making the food FareShare provides ‘invaluable’. The BUCFP gives certain luxury items like quality streets as thank you presents to the volunteers when they can, in this way she says the food ‘helps us give our service users recognition.
The BUCFP offers people so much. A place to have delicious food, an opportunity to meet people and socialise without fear of discrimination or judgement, somewhere to use vital facilities, somewhere to look to the future and build on skills and interests through learning and somewhere for people to feel and be needed. FareShare is proud to support and work alongside the Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project.