“We encountered an 18 year old homeless man and Loaves and Fishes signposted us in the right direction. The young man has since become more stable and has employment. I met a man who in another world would be lonely but he finds purpose and activity by helping Loaves N Fishes.”
Alan Darby, Slegmere Partnership
“Loaves N Fishes are a source of love and friendship to people who need help in their moment of greatest need. Everyone I know admires their work, both their responsiveness to need and the way they go about it, freely giving and caring. We have learnt and can learn a lot more from Loaves N Fishes in the council.”
Gary Bowman, Sandwell Council
“Loaves N Fishes are proving to be invaluable to Hope into Action: Black Country. We get investors to purchase houses which we partner with a local church and then tenant with vulnerable adults. Loaves N Fishes are currently assisting one of our partner churches with furnishing a house that they are opening in the next few weeks for people who are either currently homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“This church would struggle to get together everything that they need to provide and Loaves N Fishes can help to turn around the lives of the individuals who are being housed by providing good quality furniture that none of the tenants would be able to bring themselves as they come to the house with nothing.”
Matthieu Lamber, Hope into Action: Black Country
“Having worked with the homeless / insecurely housed for a number of years in various towns around the UK, I know that setting up your home from being homeless and vulnerably housed is a very complicated and expensive business. To have a charity who can provide all that for free or low cost to help the individual live a decent life in their own accommodation is an invaluable resource and is almost unheard of … and this is what LnF provide. They also mentor and help the unemployed helping them to be ready for work … this is all provided in an organisation with a Christian ethos to those of all faiths and none.
“My family has been personally helped by LnF and it was such a great help and a blessing when we were in times of most need. Thank you!!”
Chris Milton, The Way UK
“I have experience of working with L&F and the benefits and impact they have, both in my role at Black Country Housing Group and with my involvement on the board at Gatis Street Community Project in Wolverhampton.
“For the Gatis project, Loaves N Fishes provided furniture to enable us to open a community cafe that will provide affordable healthy meals to vulnerable people and families in the community and health and wellbeing activities. We launch the daily cafe this summer and from one-off events have already reached 45 people to engage them in the cafe with food and purposeful activities that address social exclusion. Without the furniture from L&F, we couldn’t have done this.
“At BCHG we know they have helped some of our vulnerable homeless customers set up home and settle them in their tenancy with furniture essentials and other items. The first 3-months of a tenancy is crucial for people exiting homelessness and without the right support, it would be easy to set people up to fail but L&F interventions both practical and otherwise, ensure the best start for that tenancy and the individual trying to start a new life in a new home.
“I have found them to be always helpful, always friendly, always trying to find a solution and they contribute a positive and committed presence on the Blackheath High Street.”
Anna Gillespie, BCHG
“We are a charity working with new and emerging communities, throughout Birmingham. We decided to open a small charity shop in Birmingham but we did not have any items whatsoever. By coincidence we were introduced to L&F, who made it possible for us to not only open our shop, but also to bless many very vulnerable people from all local areas, from all backgrounds, religions and cultures.
“I have lived in this country for 20 years and I have never seen a more inspirational, committed, and ready to serve selfless group! The way everything is run is amazing – the charity foundations are strength of love and compassion and each time I happen to mention L&F to very poor and struggling people on the area, it’s rather rare for them to not have received some help from them!
“Due to the language barrier, many often say: Yea, got help from that charity ‘Fishes & Something’, and the moment we say the full correct name they smile and show how grateful they are to them.
“Well done to you all and keep on going. A big thank you for your continued support and God Bless you all!!!”
Pranvera Smith, Director, Freedom 2 Stay
“I have worked with Loaves for almost four years now and have seen them grow and develop into an organisation that makes a real difference to the lives of so many people throughout the Black Country.
“They support local people in a non-judgmental way, focusing on the individual, working to improve lives. There are very few charities I work with who can genuinely demonstrate the difference they make, Loaves is one of these charities!!”
Steve Baylis, SCVO
“We have worked with Loaves N Fishes for well over five years and have found their support invaluable. Working ourselves with the homeless, vulnerable and those in crisis there have been many occasions when we have had the need to contact Anna and her team for assistance. Loaves have supplied furniture clothing and shelter!
“They have an amazing reputation within the wider community, well-earned after providing quality, caring compassion for so many years. They are inspirational and admirable. Love you guys!”
Pastor David R Marsh, Centre Point Church
“My experience of working alongside Loaves N Fishes has been exceptional. Loaves N Fishes are a Christian project providing practical help, essential household furniture or the provision of clothes to people in need. They cover the area of Sandwell and Dudley. My involvement through Welfare Rights was advising and supporting those accessing Loaves N Fishes support services with benefit maximisation and debt. The staff were inundated with benefits queries and were trying their best to support their clients, Welfare Rights provided the joined up working and support that was desperately needed.
“The aim of the project at Loaves N Fishes is a new pilot for the Welfare Rights Team at Sandwell M.B.C. to provide them with a Welfare Rights Officer who is dedicated to delivering a welfare rights advice service for one day per week providing a surgery at the Loaves N Fishes Head Office in Blackheath.
“In just eight weeks, the total benefit gains that were awarded to clients was £8,503.67. This was achieved by holding a surgery with only a few hours per week. The impact is a large amount of money has been claimed through these benefits the indication is that a significant number of clients we have seen have been experiencing financial exclusion and have been living with financial difficulties below the poverty line. The work that has been done throughout this project has made steps to lift and support these clients out of poverty.
“What we have found from speaking to clients who have accessed this service is that they are now more reassured that they are claiming the correct benefit entitlement. Many of the clients have received discretionary housing payments enabling them to remain in their homes and also to live more comfortably rather than having to access assistance from the food banks.
“One of the young people that were advised actually secured an apprenticeship at Loaves N Fishes based on the advice that we provided, which is ‘we have also seen young people continuing with their education, training and being supporting into employment’.
“Partnership Working: The welfare rights officer allocated to the project is working well with the other partners in the area including the Loaves N Fishes shop, the Blackheath N.O., Revenues and Benefits and Dudley M.B.C for those requiring assistance, however living out of borough. So far this project delivered excellent results it has been very beneficial for the clients who have accessed the services. As the figures show, a large number of clients continue to need assistance to claim their full benefit entitlement and to feel supported with many of them experiencing financial poverty due to them not receiving support earlier. The project and service is invaluable to our mutual clients relieving them of many of the financial pressures and stresses they face. The future for this project is that a relationship has now been built up between, Loaves N Fishes, Welfare Rights and accessing help via the locality office and therefore clients will be seen at the locality office and the referrers now have the confidence in referring clients for a service that meets clients’ needs.
“Now the relationship with Loaves N Fishes has been built up, staff will now refer direct to the local office in the area, ensuring that every client who requires a service, gets a service. Loaves N Fishes and the staff that work there are amazing people, who always go the extra mile to help and support everyone accessing their service.”
Samantha Creary, Sandwell Council
“As a local Pastor I get encouraged when I see Loaves at work. Their passion is second to none when it comes to serving those who are disadvantaged. They certainly follow the instructions of James as they put their faith in Christ into action.
“My prayer for them is that they don’t get side-lined or distracted from what they are called to do but remain faithful to serve as they were called from day one. Loaves is always first call because if they can’t help they know someone who can!”
Matt Brookes, Local Pastor