As part of a continuing commitment to engage with local communities and charitable causes in the Greater Manchester area, Seetec Outsource recently made a donation to the Salford-based charity, Loaves and Fishes, as well as providing the organisation with fifteen laptops to allow them to bridge the growing digital inclusion gap.
The donation, amounting to £360, was used to pay for three months’ worth of day-bus passes, to allow visitors of the centre to be able to attend job interviews and doctors’ appointments, among other essential events. This fits in with the centre’s ambition to go beyond providing a safe space where visitors can have something to eat and drink, aiming to support people in finding employment, teach vital skills and offer advice on other issues such as debt and housing.
Jenni Smith, CEO of Salford Loaves and Fishes, outlined how the donations will affect what the charity is able to provide: “On a day-to-day basis, we deal with people with complex needs and barriers to statutory services. We get less than 5% statutory funding, so we have to find alternative methods of sourcing essential equipment. The fifteen laptops Seetec have donated has enabled us to put on digital skills session, which is so important as the digital inclusion gap is leaving our community behind.”
This need for digital skills is highlighted by the fact that Salford has the highest number of sanctions for stopping benefits in the UK, often because claimants cannot access their account online. It will also enable clients to write CV’s, fill out college enrolments, access their council tax account and complete online journals required to claim universal credit. Furthermore, the centre has been providing ESOL classes for clients, with one classroom containing eighteen learners with thirteen different languages between them, and the laptops will be used to enhance these programmes.
Jan Drew, Learning Programme Manager, outlined how great the need for these donations is: “I think it’s very easy for people who have a specific standard of living to not understand the requirements of communities like ours; I’ve never seen depravation like I’ve seen here. Working in a place like Loaves and Fishes, where we meet people with no judgement, helps them to build trust. We’ve got good relationships with organisations, like housing providers, so we can facilitate getting our clients the essential services that they need.”
As well as supporting Loaves and Fishes, Seetec Outsource have also made a £500 donation to the housing charity, Shelter, to be used specifically in their Manchester community hub. Last year, Shelter supported an astonishing 15,478 households at hubs across the country but face a continual battle as recent figures suggest that nearly 3000 people nationally could be sleeping on the streets on a given night. Meanwhile, for each of those individuals, another 35 will be in unsafe and uncertain temporary accommodation.
Vic Butcher, Community Fundraiser for the Manchester hub, outlined their main objectives and how the donations will be used: “In Manchester, we have three priorities: affordable homes in the private sector, fairer access to homeless provision, and social and affordable housing. Our role is to work with the Boroughs of Greater Manchester to ensure as many people as possible are given a solution to their housing issues. The £500 donation could go towards, for example, allowing three families to pay for legal advice to keep them in their homes or in helping to fund Growth Trainee programmes that seek out and help homeless people to try and find employment and build towards a better future.”
Vic was also keen to mention the ongoing need for volunteers within the organisation. To get involved with your local Shelter hub and find out how you can help, click the link below: MyImpactPage – Shelter (betterimpact.com)