Hear from Hannah Gibbons, Operations Manager at Refuweegee, one of our amazing partner organisations distributing Rose Vouchers and supporting families to access fresh fruit and veg.
“Families are keen to get fresh fruit and veg and the Rose Vouchers are really making a difference and helping us do that. Most of the families we support come from other countries and are more often than not living on a very tight budget. With the vouchers, they can choose their own fruit and veg and make homecooked meals that they like, rather than have their meals decided for them.
We work with lots of different partners across the city who refer families to us for support in different areas. This could be for food, toiletries, entertainment packs for children or other support. We manage the requests from our partners, and our volunteers put the packs together. Since we joined the Rose Vouchers for Fruit and Veg Project a few months ago, we have included Rose Vouchers in the packs we deliver to families living near Bridgeton Market. We currently support eight families with Rose Vouchers in the area.
It’s essential the families can access the market either by foot or just one bus, otherwise they can’t afford to get there. I know one mum we support who walks for over 3 hours each day with her young child to take and collect her older children from school.
Feedback from families about the vouchers has been good. One Dad told me the Rose Vouchers are so helpful for his family, and he uses them regularly.
Language can be a barrier for the families we support, as many don’t speak much English. When we noticed one family weren’t spending their vouchers, a volunteer who spoke Arabic let the family know how the vouchers worked. When we saw that the vouchers still weren’t being spent, the volunteer then accompanied the Dad of the family to the market to show him where he could spend the vouchers. They came back with a ton of fruit and veg, a really wide variety. I know this will make a big difference to the family.
Another barrier can be that families aren’t used to being given something for free. It’s a really strange thing for people. They are proud and have come from well-paid jobs, never relying on charity before, making them hesitant to accept what they see as handouts.
We’re so pleased to be part of the Rose Vouchers project. It’s the most vulnerable people in society that Rose Vouchers are supporting. For families to be able to give their children fresh fruit and veg is just so important.”