It was announced last week that Ofgem has announced the energy price cap is increasing to £3,549 per year from October 1, an 80 percent increase in energy costs.
To accommodate the predicted rise in demand, the Serendipity Initiative and Neighbour's Kitchen, which operate from the Priory Hotel and both founded and run by Paul Hugill MBE, are planning to move out of the hotel – and are now in need of a new home, and are in the process of converting from a Community Interest Company to become a fully-fledged charity to help even more people.
Neighbour’s Kitchen provides substantial and nutritious food hampers for struggling families in the area, and Paul explained: “The need for the support we offer has now got to the point where we can’t do it from the Priory anymore, we need somewhere else to move into.”
Instead of just simply providing food boxes for their clients, the vision for a new-look Neighbour’s Kitchen, Paul said, is to provide a source where people can shop for the things they need – but the difference is, people can simply pay with whatever money they can afford to give.
"We want to have dispensers where people can help themselves to their own items, like pasta, and bring receptacles so they can select their own fruit – like a greengrocers,” Paul explained, “We want to be able to provide fresh, healthy food for their families with dignity, rather than feel as though they are being given a hand-out, they’re shopping for themselves and paying with what they can afford.”
As this vision for the Neighbour’s Kitchen would require a lot more shelving and space, the team are now looking to move out of the Priory.
The ideal location for the team would be somewhere in Louth’s town centre so it is accessible on foot for residents in the town and has a large downstairs area to make it accessible for those who use wheelchairs or pushchairs and prams, and for those bringing in or receiving food donations won’t have to carry heavy boxes up and down stairs.Paul added: “We’re heading into what is going to be one of the most challenging times this country has seen in years, so our priority is to continue to provide that food support.”
The team are already seeing a rise in clients, with more than 40 families coming for food support in just two days last week, but Paul said they are also seeing their families coming full circle, as some of the families they have helped and given food to have since been in to donate food to help others as they’ve turned their lives around.
The vision for the new Neighbour’s Kitchen is to eventually have three parts – the first being the access to food support, then the team want to provide a cafe space where people can sit and enjoy a drink in a safe space, and then an entertainment space where they can host fundraising and community events."We’re not trying to replace food banks,” Paul said, “We’re inviting the community to come together and support each other – just by coming along to one of our events is helping us to do what we do.”
Volunteer Steph Laing explained: “The whole point is that it’s not a charity, it’s how you would treat your neighbours – we’re all one big community.”
If you can help the Neighbour’s Kitchen to find a new space to continue their good work, visit their website at www.priorylouth.co.uk