Individuals and families were being offered accommodation by local authorities but then had to fend for themselves in trying to set up a new home.
The Rotary clubs of Loughborough, Loughborough Beacon and Loughborough Inner Wheel have been working together since 2017 to support people being re-housed in the Charnwood area by providing a home starter box of basic household equipment.
Each box is packed with new items including sets of crockery and cutlery, pans, a kettle, glasses, towels and other necessities and costs about £100 to produce.
Since inception they have supplied, on average, one box per week, and have now exceeded 150. This is just for Loughborough and shows no signs of a decreasing demand.
Those receiving the boxes are local people who have nothing with which to restart their lives.
All are identified through local partner agencies such as Charnwood Borough Council, Women’s Aid and charities working with the homeless or ex-offenders.
It is not possible for anyone to request a box directly.
The project has operated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic because demand has continued to be high.
The team found new ways to keep going in line with Government restrictions.
The Rotary and Inner Wheel clubs have given donations from their own funds, raised from the generosity of Leicestershire people.
The team did not want to be a continuing drain on Club fund-raising and so now the project is self-funding. They have been helped with two grants from District 1070.
Other grants have been received from a range of external bodies including Tesco, the Co-op, East Midlands Airport, Loughborough Welfare Trusts, Loughborough University, St James’ Place, and East Midlands Housing association.
The project has operated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic because demand has continued to be high.”
The most recent funding came from the Henry Smith Charity, a London-based body founded in 1628 with historical links to Leicestershire.
The team also operates a second project, distributing donated goods. These second-hand items have included bedding, curtains, toys, household goods and small electrical items not included in the Home Starter Boxes.
Rotarian Sue Easton of Loughborough Beacon said: “Like all good ideas, Home Starter Boxes is a simple concept.
“We are happy to provide other clubs with presentations and/or advice if they wish to set up a similar scheme elsewhere.
“Think what the size of the contribution would be if Rotary clubs rolled this out nationally!”
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