Dudley Community Centre is the setting for Heaven’s Kitchen, they received a £1,000 grant from the Foundation’s Harry Payne Fund to help support their project that works with local people who are vulnerable, homeless or in need.
It’s a dark, cold, Monday night in Dudley but the community centre is full of smiling faces and energy.
A team of volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that local people have a place to eat and seize some opportunities.
Malcom Jones, Project Manager, told us how it all began:
“In 2007, me and the wife were fed up of doing Christmas at home, it was getting boring. The kids had grown up and we decided to give something back.
“We approached the Dudley Community Church and we worked out some budgets. My wife works in catering and I’ve got the gift of the gab, so we were on our way!”
It’s not all positive at the centre:
“It’s sad here, we’ve had three regulars die in the last few months. You’ve got people that’ve had cuts and you’ve got those living on the streets with addictions.
“But, we’ve grown into a massive place, we’ve sent people into rehab and given them massive opportunities. Now we’ve earned their respect, so it polices itself, they know we do it for them.
“It costs us £5000 to run this place for a year but the grants we get cover all the equipment costs, if we had to source that as well we’d be constantly fundraising!
“I work five days, and have pretty much a full-time job here, that’s my life, it’s never ending! But I love it, it’s our community and I’m just glad we can give something back!”
Chatting to service users we met Michael; recently released from prison, he’s juggling caring for his partner and trying to support himself daily:
“I’ve spent the last year in jail and this place has really helped me out, they do food bank tickets, offer support, help me make calls things like that.
“I’m trying to get back on my feet, I’m managing with food but at the moment I’m struggling with electric and gas.
“I’m currently a carer and my Mum isn’t very well, unfortunately I can’t see her because she’s three buses away and I just can’t afford it.”
If you’d like to apply for funding please view our Available Grants here.