Yvonne Simms – A vision to create ‘Community Hubs’ in Salford

Verve met Yvonne Simms at the recent ‘Ode to Christmas’ event hosted by the Homewatch/Neighborhood watch committee. Yvonne has the vision to create a Community Hub to provide support to vulnerable families in Salford. Yvonne Simms is a Trustee of the charity LifeCentre based on Langworthy Road in Salford, Greater Manchester. The LifeCentre is a Christian charity who work alongside Local People for Community Transformation.

Verve was fundraising on behalf of the Salford Veterans Breakfast Club. We had a well-stocked tombola raffle with gifts, donated by businesses and from within our veteran and the local community. Money raised would be used to provide Xmas hampers for Veterans in Salford who lived alone. We raised enough money to provide a home-cooked, 3-course meal with entertainment for Armed Forces Veterans in Salford. The Salford Veterans Breakfast Club hosted the meal at St Thomas’s Church (Pendleton church).

I looked over at Yvonne’s stall, where she was being greeted with affectionate by everyone. And, because I am not shy, I went over to her to say hello and find out more about her…..

Yvonne Simms receives a ‘Heart of Salford’ award for volunteering…

Yvonne invited me to the LifeCentre to distribute the Salford Food Parcels for the Christmas holidays. The demand for Food Parcels was high, with many families waiting to collect their parcels. However, there was a real concern that they could run out of food for the families.

Salford Food Parcel project

The Salford Food Parcel project is run in collaboration with the British Red Cross Charity to support asylum seekers. The Red Cross provides the cost of transport fares, and they help towards the cost of toiletries.

Holiday Hunger project

34 Christmas lunchbox meals and a gift for each child were prepared as part of the Holiday Hunger project. The project is run by ‘This is It’ and based on Barff Road in Salford; it is a community to improve the lives of those in that area. Again, Yvonne was concerned that she would not have enough money to buy presents for the children.

I offered to ask around and see if I could get any help, which she accepted. A post on the Verve Facebook page was published; the response was terrific. 90 gifts for the children and additional money donated helped them to buy extra food for them.

34 thank you’s to our community!

Thank you to everyone who donated! Family, friends and our Veterans from Salford Veterans Breakfast Club came together to help Yvonne achieve her wish. God bless you all.

Universal Credit causing hardship

Yvonne told me of the problems some of the families were facing. One family did not get a payment until 8th January 2020 to get Universal Credit. Subsequently, this meant the family would have no food or money over Christmas. Delays in payments and sanctions with Universal Credit are having a huge, detrimental effect in the community. Many families are struggling to provide food for their families, children are going to school hungry, and it’s getting worse!

Sponsors and donations needed

Yvonne currently has 6 regular sponsors; they pay £25.00 or £35.00 per month to keep the Holiday Hunger project going. She needs volunteers who will support her to raise funds to keep these vital projects running. Verve will publish blogs and articles on Social media to share within the local community. We aim to raise awareness within the community to gather support for them. The main objective is to link local charities and community projects and connect these to potential future sponsors and possible funding programmes.

Organic healthy food is grown locally in our allotment

Yvonne would use the money raised from funding bids to extend the foods grown on their allotment in Salford. The allotment has an established chickens coup with an orchard of fruit trees, including 6 established apple trees. The eggs and fruit from the allotment allow her to supply freshly laid eggs and fresh fruit to families. It is essential to Yvonne that the children have healthy and nutritious meals; nothing ever goes to waste!

Yvonne’s vision for the future ( she needs help with this!)…

Yvonne has the vision to create a Community Hub located on the Barff Road/Kennedy Road/ Tootal Drive area of Salford. The Community Hub will be on the Number 10 bus route, making it accessible to more people and their families in need. The Community Hub project needs Funding, Volunteers and Sponsors to get this going. Ideally, Yvonne quietly told me that she would like…

A millionaire to come along and buy us a big house, where we could have downstairs as a Community Hub. The downstairs would be a hub with a fridge and freezer stocked with healthy food. Upstairs, the hub will be filled with clothes and toys received from donations’.

Yvonne Simms December 2019

Realistically, this is not going to happen! Yvonne is looking for businesses or sponsors to help her to achieve this. Yvonne is seeking groups or individuals who could offer practical help with maintenance and repairs she needs with the allotment. Current support includes the restoration of the shed roof!.

Therapeutic values in gardening and nature

Yvonne would like to offer the allotment resources to organisations within the community who could benefit from it. The allotment provides a natural therapy for many to enjoy and to take solace from. Volunteers tend to the allotment; currently, they need more volunteers for it to grow. One of their volunteers has had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and he finds being outdoors and being with nature is very therapeutic and calming. He has offered his support to coordinate and assist any new volunteers helping Yvonne’s dream to become a reality.

If you would like further information supporting Yvonne on her mission and can offer any support to our charities, please do get in touch!

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