Mary

I noticed that some people in my community, who are dependant on benefits, were going hungry.

I am retired and I am not on benefits – I noticed that some people in my community, who are dependant on benefits, were going hungry.

Some of us decided to set up a weekly community lunch. We had to improvise and had to use electric hobs when we discovered there wasn’t a kitchen in the community hall. Some weeks we have 20 people and some weeks we have 30. They all live in the area. A lot are just from three of our streets. It’s very rewarding. The people who come to our lunch seem to enjoy it and come every week – so our cooking can’t be that bad”!

We’ve also started a community garden that anyone can access and use the vegetables and herbs we grow there. We don’t have a shop here in Cross Green that sells fruit and vegetables, so it means people having to pay bus fare to shop for fresh produce. This can be difficult for people on low incomes and benefits. Our community garden means that people can buy meat or fish they may not otherwise be able to afford, because they can get the vegetables for their meal free. It’s a real help to people who are relying on benefits and face struggles to make ends meet.

I’ve noticed a dramatic change in my neighbourhood which I have been living in for 27 years. I think that Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are a problem for the community. It’s had a dramatic effect – I think the problems that stem from it are because we have too many in one little area. In three streets alone, here in Cross Green, we have loads.

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Mary

I noticed that some people in my community, who are dependant on benefits, were going hungry.

I am retired and I am not on benefits – I noticed that some people in my community, who are dependant on benefits, were going hungry.

Some of us decided to set up a weekly community lunch. We had to improvise and had to use electric hobs when we discovered there wasn’t a kitchen in the community hall. Some weeks we have 20 people and some weeks we have 30. They all live in the area. A lot are just from three of our streets. It’s very rewarding. The people who come to our lunch seem to enjoy it and come every week – so our cooking can’t be that bad”!

We’ve also started a community garden that anyone can access and use the vegetables and herbs we grow there. We don’t have a shop here in Cross Green that sells fruit and vegetables, so it means people having to pay bus fare to shop for fresh produce. This can be difficult for people on low incomes and benefits. Our community garden means that people can buy meat or fish they may not otherwise be able to afford, because they can get the vegetables for their meal free. It’s a real help to people who are relying on benefits and face struggles to make ends meet.

I’ve noticed a dramatic change in my neighbourhood which I have been living in for 27 years. I think that Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are a problem for the community. It’s had a dramatic effect – I think the problems that stem from it are because we have too many in one little area. In three streets alone, here in Cross Green, we have loads.

Real Benefits Street Expert - Mary

“All year round we’ll be growing and sharing our food. It’s brought the community together in so many different ways and it’s formed friendships, the most unlikely friendships you can ever imagine.”

Mary