Caring in Bristol is a people-first organisation. All of our services are designed around the needs of the people who use them, and are constantly evolving and improving as we incorporate their feedback.
This is especially true when it comes to Cheers Drive. We believe that food support doesn’t have to be prescriptive, and that everyone should have as much agency as possible over what food they access and how and when they do so.
That’s why, as of this week that’s why we are changing up the type of deliveries that some of our Cheers Drive recipients will get.
Around a third of the people affected by homelessness who we are delivering food to regularly have been accommodated in houses with multiple occupations, or HMOs which have basic cooking facilities that can be safely shared without increasing the risk of Covid transmission.
Based on feedback from people living in these types of accommodation, we will be providing these HMOs with food parcels and ingredients which they can use to cook for themselves and their households rather than the pre-prepared meals they are currently receiving – this affects 40 people, just under a third of the total amount of people Cheers Drive supports each week.
So what are the benefits of this approach?
Increased autonomy for the people who receive Cheers Drive deliveries and a heightened sense of control over their daily lives.
It means that those housed in HMOs can enjoy more variety in their meals – in particular those who are have been designated as having No Recourse to Public Funds due to their immigration status, and as such cannot visit a supermarket to buy their own ingredients.
It affords households access to the collective experience of communal cooking and dining, an experience which has been compellingly linked to better mental and physical health.
Our ultimate goal is for all the people we work with to live happy, fulfilled lives in secure housing and to do so as independently as possible whilst retaining access to any support that they do need.
Food is such a ubiquitous and essential part of life, and so we are excited to be taking this step together,
Header photo courtesy of @katuslampa