How Rose Vouchers are supporting families in Hackney

Hear from a children’s centre staff member at Sebright Children’s Centre in Hackney, one of our amazing partner organisations distributing Rose Vouchers and supporting families to access fresh fruit and veg.

“We generally support families with children under five, families that are vulnerable and in need. Many languages are spoken, with some families receiving Rose Vouchers who don’t speak English that well. It’s so important that families understand where they can spend the vouchers they receive. For these families, in particular, having the market traders display their Rose Vouchers posters daily would really help them know where to go.

Rose Vouchers definitely make a difference to families. I check in with families regularly. The Alexandra Rose Charity dashboard is really helpful for seeing how often the families spend their vouchers. Especially for the families who spend their vouchers regularly, feedback is always really positive. I always try and make sure I’m on top of the voucher spending so I can ask families if they’re having any problems if they’re not using their vouchers as much as normal.

We have many different services at Sebright Children’s Centre, with Rose Vouchers coming under our extended services. We have really good family support workers and support families to access a range of benefits. Rose Vouchers help get families through the door; we can then establish a relationship with them and signpost them sensitively to the services that could help them, including receiving Rose Vouchers.

If we think a family could benefit from Rose Vouchers, our Head of Centre will authorise it. We have more and more refugees coming to us, families with No Recourse to Public Funds, and families living in hotels and hostels. When families get rehoused, they might end up in a borough where Rose Vouchers aren’t available. It’s really hard to tell families they can’t have Rose Vouchers if they’re out of the area.

One parent called me in tears when her Rose Vouchers stopped as her child was too old for the project (they had started school). It helps to have family support in the building to refer families to and get additional help with applying for grants. I find it can be quite upsetting.

We’ve noticed the biggest impact of Rose Vouchers is on our two-year-olds. At Sebright, we give the children lunch as they are here for longer. They come in hungry, and we give them snacks. We have a good relationship with families. We speak to them three times a week and can share what their child has been eating at nursery, such as if they’re tried carrots or eaten their peas. We give them recipes to try and advice on how to cook different things.

The biggest thing we find is the children who are not used to eating fruit and veg at home aren’t sure about trying the food we offer them. However, when their families start getting Rose Vouchers, we see a big change. Without Rose Vouchers, they wouldn’t be able to have fruit and veg at home to try. It’s one of the most rewarding things to see. Rose Vouchers make this possible. Our single biggest achievement is expanding a child’s diet.”