9th March 2022
Public Service students at South Devon College have been hard at work to support the local community in the form of food bank donations, creating a great partnership with The Thrive Project. They are a community hub based in Paignton, with a primary focus of ensuring the people of the community live, safely and comfortably, because every single person should do more than just survive, they should thrive.
A volunteering placement is a critical part of the public service course and all public service students have one. This student-led project involves all the students on this course, with Joey Higgins and Jessica Harris coordinating the Public Service Food Bank donations as part of their volunteering placement.
Joey said: “Every week, students are going to bring in one item for the donation box and then there’ll be a monthly collection from us. We’re working really closely with Rachel and Mark from Thrive and having discussions about what the community really needs, where they’re falling short and then prioritising meeting those needs in what we donate.”
Rachel Shepard from The Thrive Project said: “We offer food parcel referrals, computer and phone use, clothes, rough sleeping equipment, hot drinks and cakes, support with sourcing accommodation, white goods, paperwork, benefit specialist sessions, supporting people with eviction notices, homeless appeals, court papers and more. We support anyone that comes through the door, or if an issue isn’t within our remit we signpost and refer on to appropriate partner services.
“The food items donated by the students has allowed us to stock cupboards from scratch of 6 people recently accommodated, replenished the community chest, formed part of food bags for crisis situations and I included items in a recent box sent off to a Ukraine donation point.
“The students were polite, clearly willing to learn and the fact that some may be beneficiaries of support such as Thrive was not lost on us, so I would welcome the opportunity to expand the working relationship.”