Back in the Autumn, Ian Girling, the CEO of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce, approached Alistair the Faithworks CEO, about creating a Festive Food Bank at their Christmas gathering in December.
Given the enormous financial challenges facing so many people this year, this felt like a way of bringing good news into a bad situation.
And the idea captured people’s imaginations. Business leaders arrived at the venue for the Chamber AGM and Christmas meal carrying bags full of tins, deodorant, socks and underwear – not the usual accompaniments for such a day.
By the end of the event the tables overflowed with items with 10 crates of goods taken to Faithworks’ Half-time venue. As Alistair said in his speech, the personal hygiene goods and food donations will be used by the most vulnerable people in our society the very next day.
Half-time provides a safe space for individuals experiencing homelessness, to come off the streets have a shower, wash their clothes, grab a bite to eat, and above all have an hour where they can tell their story and take the first steps away from rough sleeping.
Dorset Chamber of Commerce members were not only generous in bringing donations, they were also willing to give towards the cause, raising £1,265 towards the practical Food Bank and homelessness work of the Faithworks’ teams. As demand rises, so does the cost of providing these projects – so this support was perfectly timed.
However it did not stop there: Alistair brought some of the amazing wooden gifts made by the Faithworks Arch trainees at the carpenters workshop and sold through our Doorstop Shop. These trainees come from offending or homelessness backgrounds, but love the creativity and boost to their self-esteem that come from making the pizza boards, Christmas trees, elegant lathed pens and more. As an incentive, one lucky winner in the Chamber raffle was able to choose a gift from the stall to take away. But of course, the uniqueness of the gifts were also attractive to everyone in the room and more than £200 was raised to go back into supporting more trainees.
At the end of his speech Alistair thanked everyone and asked the businesses represented for their ongoing support to their local Food Bank through handy apps such as BanktheFood. But he also drew the parallel with the very first Christmas story: out of darkness, Light came into the world; in bad times there was good news – just like this event.
The Faithworks team are so grateful to Ian and the Dorset Chamber of Commerce team for their creativity and generosity.