During the COVID-19 pandemic, the local community in the High Peak came together to support those that needed it the most.
Existing Food Banks, Pantries and other Food related services adapted their offer to meet the needs of their service users and we saw an influx of new groups made up of neighbours and volunteers with the sole aim of ensuring everyone was able to access food despite the restrictions and health issues.
This report aimed to identify how groups managed during the pandemic, the biggest challenges they faced and what support they would need if another national emergency occurred. It found that the voluntary sector in the High Peak has a dedicated and pro-active group of volunteers and staff that responded to the need of their community when it was needed the most but critically need support from infrastructure and statutory organisations to ensure they have the equipment, resource and capacity to reach those most in need.
Existing food banks and groups worked tirelessly to address the immediate, and increasingly complex, needs of the local community throughout the pandemic and found innovative ways of adapting to those challenges. New groups set up in a more neighbourhood focused model and linked in with those vulnerable and isolated individuals that weren’t able to access other services. There is a fear that the impact from the pandemic is still a long way from being over and issues around Mental Health, Financial Stability, Bereavement, Loneliness and Isolation amongst others are real concerns that need to be addressed.
This report clearly demonstrates the value of these organisations both during the pandemic and in the future but also the real risk they face in meeting the ever growing demand coming from the local community.
The next 12 months is likely to produce a ‘perfect storm’ situation in which the fallout from the pandemic, the Ukraine crisis and cost of living will all hit the most vulnerable people within the community and the organisations and groups that deliver essential services MUST be supported financially, operationally and strategically to prepare for this scenario.