The cost of living crisis and the need for support and food aid services is at the forefront of the public’s attention as of late, especially in the winter months.
But the incredible strength of community spirit in Salford means that hundreds of vulnerable citizens will not go without – thanks to the Lighthouse Community Trust (LCT).
To round off its year of supporting those most in need, this week (Monday 19th December) the charity put on a large meal for the homeless and did a one-off special donation of supplies from its food club to help the community over Christmas.
The LCT charity was formed during the lockdown in response to the need amongst low-income families living in North Manchester. In its second year of operation, the charity’s efforts coordinated from the main Lighthouse Church campus in Eccles, Salford has continued to provide food and support to those most in need.
In response to local councillors approaching the charity for help, 2022 saw the charity kick off its first project “Bless Manchester” providing further community support to individuals and families who desperately need it.
Securing the ongoing support and generous donations from Morrison’s (Chorlton and Eccles), Asda and Allied Mills Bakery. As well as the Salford Rugby League team, with staff volunteering for the task of delivering donated items and players donating goods. This collective effort has meant the charity has continued to grow its support this year and has also helped other charities including Safe Families, Ready Meals Salford, Christians Against Poverty and other smaller, local organisations.
From a standing start in 2020, to providing food for 60 local families in just three weeks, the Lighthouse Community Trust (LCT) charity has raised over £26,000 in the last twelve months and has managed to organise new monthly community hubs in two of the neediest areas in the city, Winton and Brookhouse.
LCT also runs a Food Club in Winton too supporting approximately 240 individuals.
Collectively, LCT supports approximately 600 people in the community through its support hubs and around another 200 people via its phone helpline. Its street work to help the homeless has supported around 50 homeless people on a regular basis this year and now also helps sex workers in the red-light districts in Manchester.
Donations from Forever Manchester, Lighthouse Church, individuals and local businesses support the charity’s efforts financially.
2023 will mark three years since the charity’s inception but with the rise of cost of living putting pressure on food banks, coupled with increased demand and falling food donations has created a “perfect storm”.
Paul Hallam, founder of the Lighthouse Community Trust and senior pastor of the Lighthouse Church, comments: “We are deeply grateful to all who continue to support us in our desire to help the neediest of people in our communities. However, as the country faces a cost of living crisis, food banks are under additional pressure as it becomes more difficult for people to afford to make donations. Our ongoing appeal for support is where you can, please continue to support the local food banks, however small.
“In addition to our more established support services, LCT has also newly established an Emergency Relief Fund (ERF). This is a special cash fund set aside for individuals who are facing a personal financial need. We have helped approximately 20-25 people with one off payments from the ERF. From paying food shopping bills, through to providing a month’s rent to stave off eviction for one single parent family. We are also reviewing fuel payment support for individuals at present too.
“In the future we aim to create employment possibilities with our business connections. We have already been able to see homeless people rehoused and employed within our contacts with local businesses. One of the next steps we are looking at is to find a building to lease or purchase in order to be a permanent community hub working with children – youth and families in the neighbourhood. We anticipate 2-3 hubs being required to reach all those in need.
“While we face a growing number of those needing our support, we also recognise that we can’t continue to reach out to those who are genuinely needing our help and support without the ongoing financial contributions from local individuals and business.”
Legmark, a legal sector marketing specialist based in Cheadle, has made a £5,000 donation to the Emergency Relief Fund this Christmas to support LCT in its desire to help the neediest of people in our local north west communities.