Roughly once a month, I engage with stakeholders from specific communities in Plymouth to discuss what their experiences and how I can help as their MP. These meetings are called ‘Politics and Pastries’, and the latest was held on Friday 4 August with faith leaders and representatives from across the city.
I like to bring these groups together regularly, because faith leaders are in touch with many different community groups in Plymouth and are very well informed of the themes and issues affecting our city.
Last week, I was keen to discuss how communities are faring during this current cost of living crisis, and what support is present within these communities are not being accessed as much as they could be.
Issues that came up were primarily around housing, food and fuel poverty. It was really interesting to hear how faith communities had been tackling these.
St Jude’s Church, for example, reached out locally to offer slow cookers and starter kits, as a way of helping people provide food for themselves and their family in the most energy efficient way. They also have a community hub cafe, where they offer a free warm space with tea, coffee and other support. It was this cafe in the St. Jude’s Church Upper Hall who very kindly hosted my Politics and Pastries session on Friday.
Children’s Storehouse and the Uniform Store are run by Plymouth Vineyard Church and support parents with school uniform, as well as equipment, clothes and toys for babies and children (you can find out more about this here). This is an incredible resource and I was interested to hear about the work that goes into it.
It was acknowledged that people may be concerned reaching out to accept support offered by some of these groups as they may not be comfortable in religious settings, but that they are keen to reassure people that they are not approaching this with any motive, other than to support people in need and do what they can for their local communities.
If anybody is in need of support, please contact me at email@example.com and my brilliant team will be happy to see what they can do to help, as well as signpost you to resources near you.