When the call went out for donations of food, toiletries – even arts and crafts materials – people from Sutton’s Shanklin Village responded with incredible generosity, in spite of current pressures on household incomes.
From noodles and beans to toothpaste and tampons, Shanklin residents filled a new community cupboard with essential items for people who are struggling. Decorated by local young people, the cupboard launched at the estate’s spring festival at the end of March. It has been a success ever since, as the donations keep coming.
According to the Chair of the Residents Association: “The response so far has been amazing, with people excited to give and take what they need. As well as food and household products, arts and crafts materials have also been shared by some residents. The project has been hugely heart-warming and is already having a big impact on local people.”
The community cupboard is a partnership project which brings together many local organisations, including the local NHS, Shanklin Village Residents Association and Community Action Sutton. It follows feedback from the community that the increased cost of living was having a serious effect on people’s health and wellbeing.
For one resident having such a resource on their doorstep is a huge benefit:
“I was going all the way to Wallington [to find support] but now it’s right at home. It’s so good to know we care enough to share.”Shanklin Village resident
As well as offering vital supplies for people in challenging times, the cupboard has introduced residents to the range of activities offered by the village community centre, with many connecting with neighbours because of the project. Said one: “I visited the community centre for the first time since moving here because of the community cupboard.”
Aimed at addressing health inequalities in an area of Sutton hit hardest by the cost of living crisis, the project was successful in a bid for the South West London health inequalities fund.
The fund supports initiatives by partners, including the NHS, Sutton’s voluntary sector and local GPs, which seek to improve health and wellbeing in borough’s most vulnerable communities. It’s part of Sutton’s health and care plan to sustain and develop good quality of life, access to decent jobs and services, and strong communities.
Where can you find the community cupboard?
The community cupboard is based at Shanklin Community Centre, 25 Rookley Close, Sutton, SM2 6TT.