Feeding the Brinsworth community BRICS by BRICS

Lottery funding has enabled the big-hearted volunteers at Brinsworth Community Trust to provide 230 free freshly cooked meals a week to vulnerable residents in the community.

In January, the trust was awarded £47,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund. The money helped establish the Brinsworth Residents In Crisis Support (BRICS) project, setting up a meals on wheels service to deliver free hot food to 40 local residents in the comfort of their own homes.

Inspired by a similar project they ran during the Covid lockdown, the BRICS project was open to the most vulnerable people in the community, including people with disabilities, terminal illnesses, in receipt of Universal Credit, or those living alone.

The three-month project, which comes to a close at the end of March, has seen residents enjoy hearty lunches like shepherd’s pie and onion gravy, sausage and mash, quiche, and fish and chips, followed by a homemade dessert. All meals have been freshly prepared at The Centre’s café, which is run by the trust.

The funding enabled The Centre to employ two additional café assistants to help with the project. A team of 16 volunteers have also been instrumental in delivering the BRICS project.

Although the funding ends in March, plans are underway to extend the service by having these meals on offer in the café as specials, helping generate a small profit which will enable the trust to sustain their meals on wheels service at a reduced price to residents.

Councillor Cheryl Jones, a trustee of Brinsworth Community Trust and vice chair of Brinsworth Parish Council said: “The smiles on people’s faces when they see us at their door has been amazing. Quite a few of our clients have shown an interest in paying a reduced price for the same high-quality meals we’ve been delivering.

“The whole point of the funding was to help us set up the BRICS project with a view to extending it in the future. We could have sat on it and wasted it. But it has given us a solid foundation to build on.”

The BRICS project follows a series of community-minded initiatives set up by the trust. Since last January, they have been running a weekly Community Hub on Wednesdays between 3pm and 5pm. They give out free sandwiches and hot drinks to anyone who turns up, with a youth club running at the same time.

“People think the parish council just does the flowers in the village. They see The Centre as this big place and don’t really know what we do. But we care about the whole community and we rely on the them to use The Centre. It’s not about people not affording things, it’s about saving people money and time and giving them something to do in the community,” Cheryl says.

Find out more about The Centre here.