Voucher donation boosts Portsmouth partnership

A donation of vouchers to a Portsmouth charity has helped people affected by the pandemic to stay independent.

With more than 7,860 requests for support in a 19 week period between March and July, HIVE Portsmouth has been helping vulnerable people to stay safe and fed during lockdown.

Funeral colleagues in Portsmouth heard how hard HIVE and its partners had been working and wanted to do something to help. The area’s Sector Operations Manager, Sue Mawson, rallied support from eight of Southern Co-op’s funeral branches and donated £700 worth of the co-operative’s retail vouchers.

Sue said: “The pandemic has had a horrendous impact on so many people’s lives. There have been people who’ve worked their whole lives and have been suddenly made redundant and are in need of help. The vouchers were our way of helping people to get essentials which they were no longer able to afford such as toothpaste or plasters.

“We also collected up school uniform from our colleagues and donated them to HIVE’s swap shop. It was all in a good condition just grown out of and hopefully helped a lot of families in the area as they prepared to go back to school. Thank you to our colleagues in Copnor, Rowner, North End, Eastney, Southsea, Fratton, Paulsgrove and Somerstown who have helped.”

HIVE Portsmouth’s initial emergency response was based around helping vulnerable people to stay safe at home, through the provision of food parcels, essential medicines, prescription collection and welfare check calls.

In conjunction with many partner organisations, HIVE oversaw the provision of over 6,000 hot meals, 3,000 food parcels, 4,500 prescriptions and 15,000 well being checks to those that were anxious, scared or lonely.

Julie Hawkins, Strategic Partnership Lead at HIVE, said: “The vouchers have been wonderful in keeping aside and making easily available when needed. In a couple of cases they’ve been used to obtain shopping for people who were unable to get out. We have concentrated on families to date requiring support and the vouchers have enabled people to remain in control of the food they choose to buy which is important for self esteem and independence.

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of others, and it has really felt that the whole city has been supporting the response. We are very grateful for everyone’s contributions and support and know that the recipients of the vouchers will have valued being able to choose their own shopping, which represents a return to ‘normality’ which is great.”

To support HIVE Portsmouth with its online development, Southern Co-op has also made a donation of £10,000.

With national headlines continuing to focus on the economic down turn, HIVE Portsmouth is welcoming further donations to help support those worried about job security, debt, bereavement or shielding.

People are invited to get in touch via www.hiveportsmouth.org.uk or to make a financial donation via Paypal through a button on its website.

For more information on Southern Co-op’s commitment to support local communities, visit www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/love-your-neighbourhood/.