Penzance Covid Recovery Group Update
Funding provided to local projects by Penzance Council is helping hundreds of vulnerable people with the delivery of emergency food parcels and providing access to other kinds of much needed support during the current coronavirus crisis.
In March the Council redirected money from its Social Action Fund to support a range of community initiatives to help local residents who were self-isolating or had been advised to shield themselves.
One of the local organisations which received this funding was Food for Families which is now using its £1,000 grant to provide emergency food parcels to families both in Penzance and the surrounding area.
Director Julia Tucker says the funding has made a real difference to the number of families the organisation has been able to support.
“Food for Families provides a stop gap service which helps families after no one else can” she said. “We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be contacted via Facebook or by phone – 07925 298587”
“We usually feed up to 50 families a week with our parcels but have seen a huge increase in demand as a result of this current crisis. The funding from the Council has provided lots of extra food for our emergency parcels which means we have been able to help many more families. So far we have helped an additional 40 families but expect this to rise further in the coming weeks”.
Following last month’s initial allocation to four local projects, the Council has now provided financial support to an additional four community initiatives.
These include a telephone support service and neighbourhood support groups for people living and working in Mousehole; an outreach programme which is helping struggling fishermen and their families in Newlyn and Penzance; a women’s aid project in West Cornwall, and a project to provide a telephone befriending service and aid and equipment for blind and visually impaired people.
The Hall has set up a telephone support service and neighbourhood support groups to provide support to the community of Mousehole during the coronavirus pandemic. The funding from the Council will be used to support these services by contributing to the travel expense of volunteers who are visiting people’s homes to collect and deliver prescriptions and shopping and setting up an emergency supplies fund to provide food for individuals who cannot access money to pay for it.
Other activities creating and delivering a “Make You Smile ‘ box of simple items to help keep the minds of individuals active who are feeling the effects of self-isolation on their mental health and bring them a smile (for example, seeds in a pot, puzzle books, letter/drawing from a local child etc); developing and delivering a ‘community book’ encouraging everyone in the village to write about themselves and their connection to Mousehole ( to be published on a dedicated webpage), and delivering locally specific community activities that can be done in isolation eg, virtual bingo, quizzes, book clubs etc.
With fishing communities across the country being affected by the closure of restaurants, pubs and supermarket fish counters, and restrictions on the export of seafood, the Fishermen’s Mission Outreach Team in Cornwall is working to extend its existing support services for people who fish commercially.
The team currently support around 500 individuals a year through a range of services, including a 24/7 Emergency Response to support fishermen and their families following an incident or accident at sea; visiting harbours to offer fishermen at the quayside practical assistance such as arranging and providing access to medical appointments ; carrying out home and hospital welfare visits to provide Crisis Intervention and practical help including signposting to other agencies (Department of Work & Pensions, Citizens Advice); and providing emergency grants to help families cope with financial crisis which could lead to homelessness.
The funding from the Council will be targeted to support fishermen from both Penzance and Newlyn harbours to help ensure the survival of these fishing communities.
The organisation has been working in the field of domestic abuse & sexual violence and delivering projects across West Cornwall for 33 years. These include supporting women and families who experience complex post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of repeated childhood and/or adult abuse together with any single abusive events which are causing dysfunction and stress in their current lives.
Current services include providing refuge accommodation for up to 11 women and 16 children; telephone support for women and families in abusive relationships or households in West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; face to face appointments at satellite venues across West Cornwall; an at Home service and counselling service.
The funding will enable the organisation to continue its work and potentially reach more women and families who have experienced both current and historic abuse.
Blind and visually impaired people can often experience isolation and loneliness. iSightCornwall provides a wide range of services aimed at helping to address these feelings.
Sadly, COVID 19 has led to the closure of opticians, hospital eye clinic services and separation from the organisation’s face to face services, leaving people feeling even more isolated and alone. With calls to the Sight Centre up and a determination to support all their service users, iSightCornwall will be using the funding to support the expansion of MyFriend, their befriending phone service.
The organisation has received almost 30 new requests from the Penzance area during the past few weeks and part of the grant will be used to retain (rather than furlough) a member of staff to manage these new befriending requests. The remaining money will be used to help fund small pieces of equipment and aids for those most in need. iSightCornwall has received many requests for equipment to help people with cooking safely in the home and talking books players, to talking clocks and additional or replacement handheld magnifiers.
“I said previously that it was fantastic to see local groups and organisations rallying around to support vulnerable people in our local communities in practical ways such as delivering hot food; collecting medicines and doing their shopping for them“ said Councillor Nicole Broadhurst, the Mayor of Penzance . “I am very proud that the funding provided by the Council has already made a difference to the lives of hundreds of vulnerable people in our community.
The four new projects we are supporting with this latest round of funding will continue to provide this much needed help and support, both to individuals living in specific areas, such as Mousehole, and those with specific challenges, including our fishing industry, women experiencing domestic violence and abuse, and people who are blind and visually impaired.
Once again I am delighted that Penzance Council can play its part by providing financial support for these vital projects” – Councillor Nicole Broadhurst.
Welcoming the grant, Cathy Lunt, General Manager for West Cornwall Women’s Aid, said “This grant has helped us continue to provide trusted support to women and children, now more than ever we are a vital lifeline. Our Helpline is for local women, we want them to know they are not alone, so please call if you need us – we are here to help. The number is 01736 367539.”
“We are delighted to have received support from Penzance Council, they have always been a listening ear to the needs of the fishing community.” said Julian Waring, the Fishermen’s Mission, Regional Fundraising Manager, Cornwall. “The grant will support many families struggling to see through this pandemic, thank you for your understanding and quick response to support the fishing community.”
Chief Executive of iSightCornwall, Carole Theobald said: “Our dedicated volunteers have already spoken to a large number of people and being able to expand the MyFriend service to help even more residents will be incredible. We are very grateful to Penzance Council for allowing us to continue helping people with sight loss.”
Tamsin Harvey, Manager of the Solomon Browne Memorial Hall said: “There are many people in Mousehole who live alone and are particularly vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. Immediately the community here rallied round to help, and this funding will allow us to do even more to help those in need at this challenging time.”
Originally set up in 2019, the Council’s Social Action Fund is usually targeted at measures which help tackle issues such as poverty, homelessness and rough sleeping, drugs and alcohol abuse, youth issues and loneliness and dementia.
During the past few weeks St Petrocs has increased the opening hours at its resource centre in Penzance to include weekends so people sleeping rough can visit the doctor, use the toilet and shower, have some food, and receive help to get housing so they can self-isolate.
The funding from the Council will enable these extra hours to continue over the next 12 weeks while the Government’s “lockdown” restrictions are in place .The project anticipates that around 65 people will use the service during this period.
The funding will be used to increase the capacity of its Meals on Wheels service to help provide more people with meals, and carry out welfare checks (by phone and visit) and collect and deliver prescriptions and shopping for vulnerable people.
The funding will enable the project to make and deliver cooked food and boxes of fresh produce to vulnerable households and families on Treneere Estate. The teams are providing information and advice on cooking and growing food and general support via Facebook Live workshops, and delivering seeds and arts and crafts materials.
The project anticipates increasing their regular delivery rounds to more than 50 households, providing more than 400 hot meals a week.
The funding will be used to buy fresh fruit and vegetables to provide food once a week for around 200 vulnerable people and their families living in and around Penzance during the coronavirus outbreak. These include people sleeping rough and living in tents in the town.