Local councillors Val Kenny and Chris Cornell joined local food poverty groups this week to relaunch the Whitstable Cares initiative.
Whitstable Cares is a partnership of local charities helping people out when they needed it during the most. In the midst of the pandemic the charities worked with Red Zebra to provide a single point of information for people in need of food and offers of help almost four weeks before the council put in a similar system. The approach guided by Ewan Flack, CEO of Red Zebra who worked on the ground during the Grenfell tragedy and had seen our duplication of service had wasted resources.
Since the early days of the pandemic the charities and our councillors have continued to meet monthly online and under the co-ordination of Jo Verney at the Umbrella Cafe. We have shared information about our changing service provision and used the experience of school family liaison workers to change our offers accordingly.
The relaunch of Whitstable Cares is designed to provide a single point of information for families and individuals in need of support over the summer and beyond. Our new website www.whitstablecares.co.uk includes information about where to access help. The phone number (01227 250 570) will be directed to the Umbrella Centre and staff able to help.
“Over the past year, collaborating and sharing information has helped us as a community organisation immensely during an unprecedented time” said Ms Verney. ” Overtime, especially with early support from local Councillor Chris Cornell, the group has grown both in numbers and its ability to provide additional support. This has resulted in Chris facilitating the relaunch of Whitstable Cares, a platform he first set up in March 2020 to get Covid-19 information out quickly and easily to those who needed help. Now, it has a holiday hunger and crisis focus for local families. This would not have been possible to facilitate without valuable partnership working in Whitstable”