30 December 2019
“We give a home to lots of young people who would otherwise be out on the streets. Brighter Futures gives them somewhere to socialise, have a hot meal and keep safe,” Marie Mitchell, volunteer youth workers and coordinator of the charity’s Rhyl Shed scheme, explains.
Brighter Futures is a community hub based in west Rhyl; the most deprived area in Wales according to official statistics, where up to 45 percent of children are living in poverty. But despite these challenges Marie is quick to point it’s a close knit community. Brighter Futures works to support and bring together people in the area by running a number of groups including youth clubs, a youth café, parent and toddler groups and Rhyl Shed – which aims to support people experiencing mental health issues, loneliness and isolation.
Marie adds: “Food is fundamental to what we do. A lot of people turn up for the food, it’s a great way of getting people out of their homes, to meet people and make friends in a non-threatening environment.
“We serve anything up to 350 meals a week, for around 300 people. People know they can come in and that we’re not here to judge, they don’t have to tell us they have no money – because the reality for many is that sometimes they do have to make a choice between buying food or paying their gas bill. So they come here and get a warm, cooked meal and it’s one thing less they have to worry about that day.”
FareShare Merseyside has been delivering food to Brighter Futures every week since July, after the Regional Centre installed a new chiller thanks to funding from Asda through the Fight Hunger Create Change partnership. The new, industrial sized chiller has given FareShare Merseyside capacity to recruit up to 64 new charities and community groups and provide over 500,000 more meals to people in need each year – and Brighter Futures is one of the newest charities to sign up.
“Getting food from FareShare has saved us a fortune. Before, we were spending quite a lot of our funding on buying food in shops, but now we’re making those cost savings we can put funding into other areas and services which we know are also really needed.
“For example, this year we’ll be hosting a Christmas party for the community. Some of our members normally dread this time of year but now we’re giving them something to look forward to.”
“We serve anything up to 350 meals a week… People know they can come and they don’t have to tell us they have no money – because the reality is that sometimes they do have to make a choice between buying food or paying their gas bill.”