MP praises Academy support for vulnerable families

Date published: 16 June 2021

Ashton and Failsworth MP Angela Rayner has praised new initiatives by a local secondary school designed to help local households in need of support.

During a tour of the Co-op Academy in Failsworth, Headteacher Phill Quirk showcased projects that had been started to remove barriers to education, such as food poverty and the affordability of uniform, that some students and their families face.

One project is a ‘Community Fridge’.

Recently launched by the school, Co-op Academy Failsworth’s is one of the first in the country to arise from a partnership between the Co-operative Group and environmental charity Hubbub.

The fridge receives donations of fresh food from residents and businesses and takes in surplus fresh food from local Co-op stores that would otherwise go to waste.

It is then re-distributed to local families without the need for a referral or any formal eligibility process that other food charities sometimes require people to go through.

The fridge is run from a container in the car park of Failsworth Soccer Centre and is staffed by students.

Alongside fresh food there are also a range of dry groceries and sanitary products to tackle the issue of period poverty too.

Ms Rayner said: “Failsworth is an incredibly close-knit community where people look out for each other.

"It is fantastic that Co-op Academy Failsworth has joined in this spirit by establishing this community fridge.

"No family should have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from, but sadly the reality is that many still do, and this can impact upon children’s education.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of to need this kind of help and I would encourage any members of the community who would benefit from accessing the community fridge to get in touch with the Academy.”

In addition to the community fridge, the school also runs a uniform recycling scheme.

Used jumpers, blazers and trousers that students have grown out of, or no longer need after leaving, are collected, washed and given back out to those who need it.

Mr Quirk added: “We have a long history of being a community school and we will continue to be so, going far beyond what happens in the classroom to support Failsworth.

"My thanks to the Co-op, Hubbub and all the staff and students who have made these projects possible.”

Any local people with spare uniform or who wish to get involved in the Community Fridge initiative can contact the Academy directly using the details on their website.

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