The cost of living has affected many households since the pandemic and changed the Dearne Area's priorities significantly.
In response to this, our Dearne Area Team started talking to people in the Dearne community to learn about their needs, and to develop projects helping families who need support. One of these projects is a personal hygiene and care bank that gives families access to everyday household items.
Cllr Wendy Cain had spoken to many families in the community during local summer events about how they were struggling financially and approached the Dearne Area Team to discuss what support could be provided in the local area. A few weeks later, with advice and support from the Dearne North and South Ward Alliances, a plan was drawn up to create a local hygiene and personal care bank. Here, hygiene and care items – as well as household cleaning products – could be handed out for free to the families that need them, freeing up money for them to buy other essentials.
Funding from the Household Support Grant allowed the team to start the project. The team needed a place to set up the bank, and Emma, who volunteers at the Renaissance Centre, suggested it as a suitable location. The centre, located in an old school building on Priory Road in Bolton on Dearne, generously waived the rental fee, which helped the project run longer. Additionally, Tesco in Wath played a significant role by ordering a large quantity of hygiene products and delivering them to the site.
Collaborating with various organisations in the Dearne, along with the assistance of local elected members, has been incredibly valuable. Thanks to the combined efforts of children's centres, the Salvation Army, Station House, and Berneslai Homes, we have been able to extend our support to a wide range of residents who require assistance.
As the bank began receiving referrals, it became evident just how essential this support was. We received wonderful feedback from families who expressed their gratitude for the assistance and the warm welcome they received when using the bank. Numerous positive comments poured in from families who have benefited from the support. One resident shared, "It's a huge relief to not worry about missing out on some food items. My family will always be thankful to those behind this project."
Cllr Wendy Cain, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health and Communities, said: “Helping our families and local people is integral to what we do as a council, and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done in the Dearne Area to support those in our communities who need it most. If you’re struggling with the rising cost of living, please do know that there is support available for you. As well as projects in your local area funded by the Household Support Grant, there’s also a range of support available on the More Money In Your Pocket webpage. You can take a look at barnsley.gov.uk/MMIYP. You can also contact your local Area Team to find out more about support services local to you – visit barnsley.gov.uk/your-local-area.”
(Pictured are just some of the partners and key people who have helped to pull this project together: Cllr Wendy Cain, Cllr Janine Bowler, Cllr Dorothy Coates, Cllr Sue Bellamy, Cllr Abi Moore and Cllr Martin Morrell, Housing and Cohesion Officer for the Dearne Area, Alan George local resident and keyholder for the Renaissance Centre and Marie Sinclair the Community Development Officer for the Dearne Area Team.)