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Persimmon provides £6,000 donation to special cause

A community pantry in Sandwell has secured a £6,000 donation from a national housebuilder, helping its team to expand services in and around the community.

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Cllr Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council, Rev Nicola Woodcock at Open Heaven Pantry, Sarah Preston, Sales Director at Persimmon Homes Central, Cllr Luke Giles and Neil Williams, Managing Director at Persimmon Homes Central.

Open Heaven Pantry received the funding boost from Persimmon Homes Central as part of its Community Champions initiative.

The group began in August 2020 as a crisis food project, and in December 2020 extended services to provide a food pantry, helping many individuals and families over the years.

They also have a baby bank which provides clothing, toiletries and small items for parents who need help with a new baby, alongside a parent and toddler support group. The group also help families provide school uniforms to their children.

Demand has always been high for the pantry and food bank services, and this has continued to increase as the cost of living has risen. Currently, they provide food for 178 members weekly plus 10 crisis provision food bank parcels each week and have a waiting list. At present, the group are looking to expand services by training six community volunteers as Money Coaches to run courses for local residents to help them budget long term. Persimmon's funding will help with this, as well as helping to cover the cost of electricity bills and food.

The donation was marked by a visit to Open Heaven Pantry by Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council and Neil Williams, Managing Director of Persimmon Homes Central.

Sandwell Council Leader, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, said: “We welcome this support from Persimmon Homes and also thank Open Heaven for their ongoing, dedicated work in the community.

“With the continuing cost of living crisis, it is more important than ever that everyone works together to support Sandwell residents who are living on low incomes and finding it hard to make ends meet.

“We recently launched the Sandwell Tackling Poverty Plan, which has been developed with partner organisations, to build on the good work taking place across Sandwell and to develop a longer-term approach to addressing the underlying causes of poverty.”

Nicola Woodcock at Open Heaven Pantry said: “We are extremely grateful to Persimmon Homes for funding the food Pantry. With the increasing demands for surplus food, it will help us to continue to provide this service for the people of Wednesbury. For many families it is a lifeline and is helping them survive the cost-of-living increases. People find themselves struggling for a whole variety of reasons and for no fault of their own. The Pantry provides a place of dignity and respect where people can come and find the support they need.

“We offer so much more than just food, help for new parents, support for those struggling with their mental health, a caring community and so much more. We are truly blessed to have a company like Persimmon who don’t just focus on the business but stop to notice the communities they work in and offer support to those in need.”

Neil Williams, Managing Director at Persimmon Homes Central, said: “What we do is about much more than just building homes, it’s about leaving a lasting impact in the communities that we build in. We’re always delighted to lend a hand to local community groups to boost their ongoing initiatives or contribute to causes that mean a lot to them.”

“It’s an honour to be able to offer this £6,000 donation to Open Heaven Pantry, helping them to expand their services around the Sandwell area and provide important life skills to local people through their Money Coach program.”

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