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Young people make food for the homeless

Young people at Charles England House making food.

A group of young people have spent a day making food parcels for the homeless in the first phase of a new initiative designed to improve their money management skills.

The group of eight young people from Charles England House, a specialist young people’s housing scheme run by Merlin, put together 50 food parcels and made 80 packs of sandwiches for the homeless last Friday. They then travelled into Bristol on Saturday to Bridge Community Church’s Streetlife project to hand out the food to more than 100 homeless people.

Their project was part of a new Social Action Youth initiative being run in partnership between Merlin, Southern Brooks Community Partnerships and 1625 Independent People for young people aged 16 – 25 in South Gloucestershire. The Social Action Youth Cashpoint project offers groups of young people the chance to plan and deliver a local community project and learn essential financial skills at the same time.

Merlin and 1625 Independent People are both providing £10,000 of funding for the year-long project, which will support 100 young people from across South Gloucestershire.

Lori Ramsay, Social Action Youth Programme Co-Ordinator at Southern Brooks Community Partnerships, said: “Each group is free to decide what they want to do as long as it has a positive impact on their community. It could be anything from improving a garden area, decorating a community space or providing new amenities in a park. They could also decide to run an enterprise and seek to make money by making and selling things.”

At the first sessions at Charles England House in Patchway the young people decided to run a project to support the homeless. They worked together to research recipes and work out the best deals on the ingredients they needed, before heading into the kitchen to get cooking.

Neighbourhood Services Manager Oonagh Lyons said: “We’re delighted to be working with Southern Brooks and 1625 Independent People on this project. Everyone on the first session has enjoyed themselves, and hopefully learned some money management skills as well.”

Melanie Lavin, Cashpoint Project Manager at 1625 Independent People added:  “We find that one of the best ways to engage young people with money matters is to do it through activities that young people care about and develop themselves.”

Future sessions will be held later in the year in Kingswood, Staple Hill, Filton, Cadbury Heath and Yate. Details of these sessions will be publicised on each of the partner’s websites and social media channels.

The project is supported by Merlin and the Cashpoint – Money Matters programme. Cashpoint – Money Matters is a Big Lottery funded project led by 1625 Independent People which aims to increase the financial confidence of young people who hold their own tenancies or licences.

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