Ipswich’s new ‘community shelf’ to help feed struggling families

Lynette Stevens from Copleston High School and Hannah Brunning from the Raedwald Trust prepare parce

Lynette Stevens from Copleston High School and Hannah Brunning from the Raedwald Trust prepare parcels for students and their families. Picture: RAEDWALD TRUST - Credit: Archant

“Collectively, we have more than we need” - that is the driving force behind a new “community shelf” in Ipswich which urges people to give their surplus food to struggling families.

The outbreak of the coronavirus crisis has left families across the town facing unprecedented hardship, with many facing job losses and reduced income.

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So the Raedwald Trust, which runs several special schools in the town, and Copleston High School have started the scheme to provide home essentials to those who most need them.

Yet as well as helping people in a time of crisis, the schools hope it will become and “enduring scheme that empowers our community to share the resources it has”.

They want to “redress the balance” of the “disproportionate allocation of resources in our communities” - an issue they believe has been heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“This is a partnership rooted in the philosophy that collectively we have more than we need,” said Angela Ransby, chief executive of the Raedwald Trust.

“The community shelf gives local people and businesses the infrastructure to share what they have with children and families who need it most.”

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Mrs Ransby said schools had been a “vital source of moral and practical support” during the pandemic, due to their regular contact with families.

“The community shelf will allow us to extend that support by delivering essential items at the same time,” she said.

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“The importance of community has never been greater than it is now. This crisis highlights that there is a disproportionate allocation of resources in our communities, and we want to find a way to redress the balance.

“We’re not replacing any service. We’re responding to a specific need that we’re ideally placed to address.”

The East of England Co-op, The Rope Trust and Waitrose have helped to get the scheme started.

Andy Green, principal of Copleston High, said the project is “seeking to close the socio-economic gaps that prevent some young people from achieving the success they are capable of”.

He added: “Our aim is to put back in place some of the support networks that schools and community provide for our most vulnerable students at a time when the normal infrastructure of their lives has been interrupted.

“We’re providing emergency relief at this time, but we hope the community shelf won’t end there.

“We want this to be an enduring scheme that empowers our community to share the resources it has.

“This is an opportunity for us all to step up and do our bit to create a fairer society for our children.”

It could even be extended to include sharing books and art in the future, he said.

For more information on how to support the initiative, email communityshelf@raedwaldtrust.org or mail@copleston.suffolk.sch.uk

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