The Portsmouth Foodbank have three locations around Portsmouth; central Southsea, Portsea and Paulsgrove. It serves to provide three days’ worth of nutritionally balanced food (trying, where possible to adapt the food parcel to meet dietary needs, for example, gluten free, halal or vegetarian) to people who are referred to them in crisis. A simple box of food reaches far wider than stopping hunger; it can help prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems.
The Foodbank doesn’t just provide food. The volunteers, who are specially trained and have local knowledge, work with individuals and families to offer guidance and signpost people to agencies able to solve the longer-term problem. Foodbanks partner with a wide range of care professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and police to identify people in crisis and issue them with a foodbank voucher.
Home-start is a local network of community volunteers who work with families across Portsmouth (PO1 – PO6). They believe that supporting a family is best done in their home where it can be shaped to the needs of the family. Being a parent has never been easy. It can be lonely, frustrating, heart breaking and over-whelming. Life-changing events can happen to anyone. That is why Home-Start is ready to support families through their toughest times.
The earliest years make the biggest impact; Home-start understands that children’s essential social, emotional and life skills are developed when they are babies and young children. Those who have stable, loving, consistent, fun childhoods have a greater chance of developing into healthy teenagers and happier adults, with better job prospects, healthy relationships and improved mental and physical health. Homestart runs Early Years Foundation intervention; they offer ‘LENA’ which is a coaching programme for parents of children from birth to three years of age to improve language and communication pre-school and they support young mothers who are often lonely and lack confidence.
Many families do not know what services there are to help them, or do not understand how to access them. For others a lack of transport or time means they are unable to reach essential services, while those living with mental and physical health problems face many barriers to getting help. Home-start’s volunteers play an important role is helping people access services and facilities in their local area.
Motiv8 works to support vulnerable young people across Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham, Gosport and the surrounding area by building trusting relationships and boosting their skills and resilience, which in turn inspires and empowers them to reach their potential.
Motiv8 supports young people individually through mentoring, or in groups/workshops, providing assistance in areas such as learning to budget their money; opening a bank account; showing them how to access jobs and training; assisting them to acquire new skills (not only of relevance in the work place but also ‘life skills’), but most importantly they provide a safe and trusting environment for each person to provide positive life changes to give each young person they help a better chance of succeeding.
Portsmouth Counselling Service, Children & Young People (Youth Counselling)
Youth Counselling and therapy helps young people who are having problems, whether that’s depression and/or mental health concerns, anxiety, emotional issues, or issues with parents/carers or people at school.
It also covers any issues of trauma, stress or grief. Sessions can range from traditional talking therapies through to engagement through play and/or craft for younger children.
It allows children access to a Counsellor to help talk about their feelings, identify their emotions, and the Counsellor works collaboratively with the child to teach them coping strategies and skills, to give them the tools for resilience in the future, which helps to make their future brighter.
Why I chose these charities
“There are so many local charities supporting a wide variety of people throughout the Portsmouth area and, for any chairman, selecting which charities to support is a difficult task. Having a young family I have a particular interest in EYFS and the health and wellbeing of children and, as we emerge from the pandemic it’s become apparent that the younger generations and the most vulnerable in society have the potential to be overlooked or forgotten; meaning that they miss out on some of the most basic and fundamental things that most of us take for granted; such as a food in their tummy at the end of the day, or simply a friend to talk to.
As a parent, we all want the best for our children and for them to be happy and healthy. Every child deserves this. Every. Single. One. The early formative years are called “Foundation Years” for a reason; it is the time when they start to develop on all levels; emotional, physical, psychological and this early development has the potential to shape their entire lives. Government funding for a variety of services have been cut consistently (and this is said without any particular political motive or affiliation), but whilst the funding has gone down, the needs for such services has risen.
We hear constantly in the news of long waiting lists for access to publicly funded mental health services, and families living in poverty. I chose the four charities this year as they complement each other as a ‘package’ and I truly believe that by providing help and support early on, it gives the greatest potential to affect change and put the child, young person and their family on a different path.”
By Sam Marsh, Chairperson of the PPA, 2022.