Coventry charity's fear as costs and demand increase - The Coventry Observer

Coventry charity's fear as costs and demand increase

Coventry Editorial 2nd Nov, 2023   0

A COVENTRY charity offering a vital lifeline to those struggling in the city is appealing for help as it faces skyrocketing demand, increased costs and a crumbling building in desperate need of repair.

St Francis Employability is based in Radford and works across an area with pockets of deprivation in the top 10 per cent of the country, with dedicated staff looking to cater to any need Coventrians have.

But a lack of cash and a plethora of problems has hamstrung the service, with staff member Selina Read telling the Observer if the trend continues into next year, it may have to start having difficult discussions around cutting back services.

St Francis of Assisi church, the building the charity operates from, is in desperate need of repair, with helpers claiming the leaking roof is leading to rain pouring into the building in bad weather.

Staff have also raised concerns about ‘inadequate electrics’ and no running water in the kitchen, while the charity’s energy costs have also gone through the roof.

Lack of funds has meant the charity has had to cap its social supermarket at 60 members despite having a long waiting list and record demand.

In the first six months of 2023, the social supermarket handed out around two-thirds of the parcels it distributed in the entirety of last year, and an average of 100 people per day use the charity’s range of services.

The charity offers a work club with a computer area, as well as employment support such as job search, CV writing and interview skills.

It also offers budgeting support, help understanding bills, a community café area which serves breakfast and lunch throughout the week, a foodbank and a social supermarket.

Selina told the Observer: “We’re managing to cope at the moment, but this service is so well needed in the community, so if we aren’t able to become sustainable and have to start cutting back where will people go?

“We’re always applying for all the funding we can but those pots of money are shrinking and the demand just keeps on rising.

“We’d love to continue to grow and adapt to meet any needs people have but we can’t do that without a pot of money behind us.”

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