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AIBU to think this could work?

(34 Posts)
Technotropic Wed 17-Jul-13 12:57:57

Hi all

First AIBU so be kind please smile

Reading the food poverty thread got me thinking about a poster's offer to buy someone £20's worth of shopping.

It was a lovely gesture but I have been thinking of going one further and actually sponsoring someone. My idea would be to support someone in the local community in any way possible and getting similar people to do the same. Maybe a £20 food shop a few times a month or something that would make a small but useful difference. It follows on from a ‘Network Neighbourhood’ idea where people do jobs for others for free with no obligation of reciprocity. It would be a community builder providing people don’t take the mick.

I’m not rich by any means but could spare a shopping trip for someone at least once/twice a month and there’s no doubt that there are many single mothers/families that could do with some help (judging by the posts on here).

The only thing I don’t know is whether people would be too proud to accept help from a stranger or even if you knew the person. I also don’t know how this would stand with benefits and whether it would be seen as additional income/support. Thus any comments would be appreciated.

I hope I’m not being naïve. From reading the threads on many boards there is a clear need for greater community and bonding between people. I pay a lot of tax to the gov but the redistribution of wealth is faltering due to the current climate.

Alternatively any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks smile

MadameDefarge Thu 18-Jul-13 15:52:13

techno, I don't think it really matters. do whatever suits you best.

Technotropic Thu 18-Jul-13 15:27:46

Many thanks to all for the thoughts/suggestions smile

I've given it some thought and whilst it's a bit less personal I think a food bank is the best way to go.

The dilemma is then how I give the food bank money. I'm self employed and anyone that understands business will know that you can give to charities pre-tax. Therefore the charity gets more money as it's a tax deductable expense. If I buy food and hand it to the food bank then my money will be post tax so will have lost 40+% in the process. If I do it through my business then the food bank will gain but then the tax avoidance brigade will look down on me for reducing my corporation tax.

So what is more important, giving more food to the needy or paying marginally less corporation tax to a government who are likely to mop it up in MP payrises?

MammaTJ Wed 17-Jul-13 22:55:21

I think if you were to choose one person/family to do this for, then not be able to afford to maintain it for any reason, it could leave them in a bit of a pickle.

Food bank would be better, or Lions if there isn't a food bank local to you.

jgjgjg Wed 17-Jul-13 22:54:53

I guess it depends on the situation. I have a friend to whom I have a few times given shopping and household goods, ranging from a few things taken from my cupboard to quite a few bags of shopping bought specially for her. I was very matter of fact about it. I just said to her that luckily I'm in a position right now where I can help, and I know for a fact that you would do the same for me in the future if the positions are reversed.

Since she literally had nothing to feed herself and her son on on a few occasions, I'm so glad that she was able to put common sense came before some misguided sense of pride in accepting my help.

I don't view that as "favouring" her over all of the other people who potentially could benefit from help. But I do see that it could be awkward to wade in offering help to someone you don't know very well.

MadameDefarge Wed 17-Jul-13 22:50:15

Purple, I see that tesco's have a food bank collection point. might be worth seeing if they donate to local foodbanks, and get a local support service involved.

Round here SS refers, as do support workers for the homeless...might be a question of joining the dots. Also lobbying local businesses.

bananananacoconuts Wed 17-Jul-13 22:48:51

Waffly, (i know what you mean about the nanas!) i think i am too proud to accept any kind of help, most people i know in my situation are. I would love to have a better community spirit though, once a week/fortnight/month a community supper or something along those lines with the option to donate/accept food or even old clothes. Something informal and where everyone is equal. No one will know if i bring venison or a pack of coleslaw or even nothing. I could turn up with the dc and bring the village closer together.
On a personal level, something that would help me greatly would be access to childcare late in the evening or weekends. I don't currently receive benefits as i work 10 hours a week, which also means i lose tax credits. I would get more money not working, however dd is 5 next month so i would have to swap any income support for jsa. Most of the single parents i know aren't qualified for a lot of jobs so access to weekend childcare will enable them to work in a shop or cafe etc. At the very least, i feel people could maybe keep their benefits longer but do 16 hours volunteering within school hours to receive their money. Thus giving back to society for what they Get paid for. The government could pay people's benefits for volunteering at the hospital or whatever they see fit.
Sorry i'm ranting, in short, i couldn't personally accept a donation or a sponsor from anyone, unless, as my friend does, play knock door run with a hamper, then i'd have no choice!

signet Wed 17-Jul-13 22:42:54

I think it's a lovely idea. I'd be concerned about people becoming reliant on it or taking advantage. But then, I'm a syndical old bat so don't listen to me!

Chippychop Wed 17-Jul-13 22:36:30

Madamed - it's local and was started years ago. It's open to all ages/situations. In recent years One of the beneficiaries died and left the proceeds of her house to fund the scheme latterly- but really the only costs are mobile phone and petrol expenses. I think it's an amazing thing and help out because I would like to think someone would do the same for my DM who lives miles away

AnneElliott Wed 17-Jul-13 22:27:53

I think this is a good idea. It's just a matter of finding someone who needs a bit of help and would be ok receiving it.

Purplehonesty Wed 17-Jul-13 22:25:19

I read that thread too and am recording the programme tonight when its on again.
I had been racking my brains as to what to do to help so I googled food bank in my area and found a newspaper article saying one was needed for here.
I emailed the address provided saying I'd like to help and nothing has come back. Not sure where to go from here now...might ask the health visitor when I take dd for her 1 year check on Friday.

MadameDefarge Wed 17-Jul-13 22:23:32

chippy, is it just local to you or does it have affiliations around the country

I have just signed up for the casserole club but it hasn't been rolled out yet in my area.

Chippychop Wed 17-Jul-13 22:20:47

I'm part of a scheme whereby anyone who needs a bit of help can call up and ask for it whether its befriending chores, housekeeping, lift somewhere, prescription collection etc. it's managed and run by volunteers. I don't think it involves food but I daresay word would get round if someone was struggling and needed a "casserole". I do think its a lovely thought OP and I wish it could work without fear of patronising anyone.

MadameDefarge Wed 17-Jul-13 22:14:07

I have also been a chair of a Tenant's Organisation, so am aware of the, er, challenges of community based not-for profit initiatives!

GotMyLittleLamb Wed 17-Jul-13 22:06:42

Have you heard of incredible edible? I can't link on's a programme which encourages communities to take ownership of green space and grow food for the benefit of the whole community. It's ace!! Maybe you could get involved with that if there is one in your area? Or set one up?

MadameDefarge Wed 17-Jul-13 22:06:36

There is a local church that has a community dinner once a week, and they have kitchens etc. It would be a perfect venue.

MadameDefarge Wed 17-Jul-13 22:05:12

I think the co op would work because people would be paying cost so saving money, but also saving dignity.

MadameDefarge Wed 17-Jul-13 22:03:52

Another offshoot of that would be cookery classes which would create a community lunch once a week...

MadameDefarge Wed 17-Jul-13 22:03:10

And having the members eventually run the project themselves(with suitable independent governance of course).

I know many market traders locally who would jump at the chance to sell their produce at the end of market on a sunday at not much above cost.

MadameDefarge Wed 17-Jul-13 22:01:05

Fucknugget, I had an idea about cooperative buying for local community for groceries, veg, and stuff like condiments and spices parcelled into meal sized portions, so often its the store cupboard staples that are so costly to buy upfront, like olive oil, vinegar, spices etc! If people became members of the coop and paid say 1 pound a week, that could cover a man with a van to go to wholesalers and produce markets once a week, and packaging and it could operate out of a local community centre.

I had my own cafe so know about buying and portion control!

WafflyVersatile Wed 17-Jul-13 21:25:16

Being a single mum with little income can be pretty lonely. Maybe people would appreciate some sort of friendship programme like there is with old people.

bananananananana (gosh it's hard to know when to stop)

Apart from a proper welfare system that properly supports you rather than demonising people for not having money what would you appreciate from your community?

Technotropic Wed 17-Jul-13 21:18:27


I guess we'll both be watching this thread with interest then smile. Like I said it's pointless offering something people don't want so maybe a rethink will be in order if the personalised approach is a no-go.

Technotropic Wed 17-Jul-13 21:14:10

Thanks bananananacoconuts that's the kind of thing I need to hear as it's pointless offering something that people don't want.

FWIW I would never make people's food choices for them. It's not my place to dictate and certainly not like the people on the benefits programme on BBC1. It's more a case of my being there and knowing what it's like to have no food, no money and feeling like nobody knows or cares.

FuckNugget Wed 17-Jul-13 21:03:14

I'm reading this thread with interest because my job involves going into the community and supporting local people to set up projects that they themselves identify as needed and wanted in the community. And ultimately get the community together by working together. The area I work in has pockets of deprivation but nobody has mentioned a food bank project yet, I'm assuming somebody will at some point though.

People like you Techno are just the kind of person I am looking to work with smile.

passmetheprozac Wed 17-Jul-13 20:55:16

I would also look at what is happening already, a few good well funded projects reaches far far more people than lots of small funded ones (IYSWIM)

On a side note I think it is shameful that in 2013 in the UK we are doing this. The problem shouldn't exist. But also on saying that I find it amazing the amount of support these charities have for example the Trussell Trust.

I donate to my local food bank when I can. For me personally the support to a well established project far outweighs the prospect of a new charity.

bananananacoconuts Wed 17-Jul-13 20:52:23

As a single parent with 2 children and on the bones of my arse skint, i would honestly feel embarrassed to accept a weeks shopping from another person in my community. (We live in a very wealthy village). I am not trying to dismiss your kind thoughts but i would also feel slightly patronised having someone else's food choices delivered to my door.
I do, however, love the community idea. I would be far more comfortable if someone popped round with a stew (and pretended it was leftovers) or if the whole community could come together once a month and all bring something each if they could.

Going on the lines of your idea though, i have a friend who makes food hampers each christmas and along with other members of her church, leave them outside vulnerable people's houses, knock on the door, and leg it! Thus being an anonymous donation and there is no pride in accepting the much needed food.

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