Ingol community centre bags almost £200,000 in lotto grants for new scheme

A community centre in Ingol has announced it has secured almost £200,000 of lottery funding to help it deliver it's new food sustainability scheme to local people.

The Intact Centre in Whitby Avenue, Ingol, announced it has been granted £184,000 in funding as part of the National Lottery Community Fund to help kickstart their newest scheme.

In a bid to help support the local community come together, feed their families and begin socialising again following the Covid-19 pandemic, its new 'Nurture, Nourish and Sustain' scheme will make use of the lottery funding over the next three years.

Having first opened its community pantry for struggling families in Preston to help slash their weekly food bill in 2019, the community centre has continued to welcome new initiatives to bring isolated members of the local community together and equip them with life skills such as cooking lessons and job advice.

And its newest three part scheme hopes to help people sustain themselves for the future and increase their well-being through their food pantry, community cafe and thrifty kitchen initiatives.

Denise Hartley MBE, Chief Executive Officer at Intact said: "We are really thrilled and excited to be granted this funding by the National Lottery Fund to help deliver our new scheme. The three year project will enable us to continue to provide and develop our amazing services that help to nurture, nourish and sustain our community.

"We were already running our pantry before the pandemic, which gives local people the chance to pay a weekly membership and then select up to 10 items worth up to £25. It was a really great way to help support those in our community on low incomes or that were struggling.

"The second part of the scheme is our community cafe that we used to run before the pandemic which was a really great social get together for people, especially those who are isolated. We served healthy home cooked meals for people in the local area.

Denise Hartley MBE, Chief Executive Officer at Intact is excited about the new funding

"In the pandemic it became clear to us that there were so many people who didn't have the skills to cook healthy meals at home, so we have introduced Thrifty Kitchen, which is the third element to this new project. It takes all the ingredients that we provide and hosts cook and eat sessions for people.

"Volunteers and service users can all come together to cook and eat together, learning how to use what is in their cupboards to make healthy and nutritious meals as well as gaining other vital life skills."

During the pandemic, the Ingol centre's community pantry saw memberships more than double, as more families became cash-strapped and relied on foodbanks to feed their families.

Priding itself on being an essential part of the Ingol and Tanterton community, it offers locals rooms for hire, free IT and computing facilities, a sensory garden, a community food bank as well as counselling and employment services.

The lottery grant will enable their community pantry and cafe schemes to continue

And the 40 volunteers at the Intact Centre began working multiple days a week to meet the need of local people who were fast signing up to become members of the pantry initiative, as well as also using food donations from Fare Share to cook and freeze homemade meals that would usually have been served in the cafe.

In a three-part scheme that has taken the volunteers and service users months to put together, they aim to continue supporting the community and bring them together as lockdown restrictions ease with their latest lottery funding.

And Denise and her team had to showcase that their new initiative was vital to members of the local area in order to secure their new grant.

Denise added: "We have a brilliant set of volunteers that all have great relationships with the whole community. I am so proud of our new scheme which will help people to nourish themselves with healthy and wholesome foods as well as meet new people and have volunteering opportunities.

Photo Neil Cross; Steph Lees-Pinson in the pantry at Intact, which gives families the chance to fill baskets for £5

"The three-part scheme will increase their wellbeing, and help them make new friends as well as teaching budgeting skills and linking them to our other services at the centre.

"People will be nurtured by us here at the centre, they will be nourished with healthy foods as well as offered guidance and the ability to develop different skills to them help them sustain themselves in the future.

"We want to maximise the potential of this community, we are continuing to offer a wide range of structured volunteering opportunities as part of the project which gives people the tools they need to look after themselves better.

"This is so exciting for us and we are thrilled to have been granted this money because applying for lottery funding is so competitive these days and there is not as much money in the programme as there used to be.

"In lockdown, the community has really started to engage with us online and we have seen how much we matter to people. We have maintained direct contact with people in our area right through lockdown and they have stayed with us on this journey. As we are opening up, people who have been isolated and fed up are eager to get back to being integrated in their community."

Liberal Democrat Councillor John Potter helped the centre create a video blog, showcasing the hard work of the volunteers at the centre which was used to apply for the Lottery funding.

He said: "Over the last year I’ve been able to help out several charities and organisations with bids for funding. Intact does such amazing work feeding some of the poorest in the community and helping those who have been left behind or fallen between the cracks”

“Video is an effective effect way of getting across how important the centre is. It was quite emotional listening to all the stories from residents who see Intact as a lifeline and I am delighted to have played a part in the successful bid."

Find out more information about how to become involved in volunteering here or join the new Thrifty Kitchen initiative here.

Gillian Halliwell, Head of Funding for the North West of England at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting The Intact Centre with this funding, so it can continue its vital work in helping to reduce food poverty in the area.

"Thanks to National Lottery players, local residents will have access to affordable, good quality food. They will also be able to learn new skills through cookery classes, helping them to make social connections with others and reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

"We’re looking forward to seeing the great difference this funding will make to people’s lives in Preston over the next three years.”

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