During Phase 1 of the project (April to end August 2020), SCS delivered over 16,000 meals to vulnerable families across Stoke ward, the parishes of St Peter’s Shared Church and St John’s Church Stoke, and nearby areas of Guildford. Over 180 families were supported and a team of over 80 volunteers provided the service.
During September 2020, SCS maintained an emergency stock of meals and continued to deliver meals to a small number of families, whilst assessing ongoing needs as children returned to school. The assessment revealed rising needs as job losses take effect. In response, Phase 2 of SCS is scaling up to help address these needs, with meals provision from Thursday 8th October. Provision will be more targeted and aimed at helping families towards self-sufficiency rather than dependence, so for specific time periods (e.g. 2 weeks to help through self-isolation, 6 weeks to support while waiting for benefits, etc.) although SCS will remain alert to specific ongoing needs. As in Phase 1, families will be referred by schools links workers, pastoral teams in the churches, and other caring agencies working in the area.
On 27th August, SCS was visited by three VIPs: the Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson, the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux, and the High Sheriff of Surrey, Shahid Azeem. The guests saw the project in action, went on a delivery run, and gave an address of thanks to the volunteer team.
Most referrals into SCS are from the Stoke part of Guildford and adjacent areas including the parishes of St Peter’s Shared Church, St John’s Church Stoke and St Saviour’s Church. Correspondingly, meals deliveries are being made to Bellfields, Slyfield, Stoke, central Guildford and environs. However, given that the catchment areas of our link schools and the Nursery School and Family Centre are wider than this, SCS is also distributing meals to Boxgrove, Merrow, Bushy Hill, Burpham and outlying locations such as Compton, Normandy, Clandon, West Horsely and Gomshall. Whilst SCS is focused on its core catchment areas, it remains flexible to respond to need as capacity allows.