St John Bosco Youth Centre has a long and proud tradition of service to young people in our community. Since its foundation in the 1940’s, we have consistently adapted to the changing needs of our community. Our centre hosts several key services, including our Youth Work Project andYouth Cafe programmes as well as partnerships with Merchants Quay Addiction Support and Solas Youth Justice Project.We also have a full-time fitness facility.
While our centre provides various services in the wider community, the core element of our work is with young people. Our main aim is to be responsive to the individual needs of local young people. We seek to establish and maintain relationships with young people as a catalyst to encourage and support them to make decisions and choices that will positively impact their lives and those around them.Our youth work programme is staffed by two youth workers and a project leader who currently engage over 200 young people in abroad range of activities and programmes.
Our organisation began receiving FoodCloud donations in March 2019. Initially, our collections were bakery and bread products and provided an exciting addition for young people attending our youth café sessions.Since our initial receipt of donations in 2019, FoodCloud has become a very important element in many aspects of our work with young people and their families.
Over this time, the selection of food we receive in our donations has become much more diverse, allowing for its use within all our youth programmes. Ingredients for cooking programmes, cereal, drinks and, of course, the many treats contained within our donations provide cost-saving benefits while allowing our service to provide food and refreshments that wouldn’t be possible without the support of FoodCloud. A youth service that is in a position to provide regular food and refreshments is always going to be a bit more attractive to young people and helping us to connect with more young people and their families helps to create a positive long-term impact that lasts far longer than the meal.
The majority of our donations are received from Lidl and always contain quality and varied content. Over time we have become very familiar with the Lidl staff within our donation stores and are always made to feel welcomed and valued by staff members.
While the young people attending our programmes enjoy the benefits of our FoodCloud donations, the impact also reaches out into the community. Nothing we receive goes to waste, and unused or excess foods are regularly provided to many of our most in-need families. In many cases, our hampers provide food where there is a genuine scarcity of nutritious meals. These hampers also allow families to try different foods they wouldn’t have tried otherwise and expand their general food intake.
Providing food support to families is also important in developing and maintaining contact with these young people and their families. These food supports provide youth work staff with the perfect opportunity to visit homes, check-in, and provide a hamper, which is always very welcomed by the recipients.
Overall, our involvement with FoodCloud is one of the most worthwhile and productive partnerships we have been involved in. It provides such a broad range of benefits, takes up very limited staff time and allows us to provide a food programme that would not be financially possible without our involvement with FoodCloud.