As Covid-19 raced across the world and lockdown loomed, at St Petrocs we had some decisions to make. Thanks to our links with NHS Health for Homeless and our staff’s dedication to our clients the decision to keep services open and safe was never really in doubt, but how we would sustain that when fundraising activities were not possible and grant funders were postponing their grants was not known. On top of that, volunteer-led food services for homeless people had to close and the supermarket shelves were bare from panic buying. We needed to make sure that 170 people could eat.
Simon Stallard from The Hidden Hut contacted us as soon as restrictions came into force to offer both cooked meals and raw ingredients which would resolve food issues for people rough sleeping and residents in our supported accommodation. The food was of an extremely high quality and he put a considerable amount of time and energy into making sure we were able to distribute it at the appropriate times to the appropriate people.
Simon said, “The idea that local businesses look after local people is something we should continue to do, and something we can all do, together.”
Steve Ellis, St Petrocs’ CEO said, “The true definition of kindness and the true definition of charity. On behalf of all of us at St Petrocs, but particularly our clients, we would like to say very sincere and heartfelt thank you to Simon.”
At the same time, the grant-funding landscape was evolving. Grant funders were opening new funds specific to Covid-19, but they were all over-subscribed and dates for applications were being brought forward all the time. Lois, with her ear to the ground was able to act fast and write bids in the short amount of time we had and get them in. Over the last 12 months, Lois has been responsible for bringing in over £500k of grant funding to allow us not just to keep vital services open for our clients, but to gear much of what we do to fight issues brought about by the pandemic.
Steve Ellis remarked, “Lois has driven grant fundraising to ensure that we have been able to stay open to deliver services for our clients. Her levels of professionalism during this crisis have been extraordinary.”
Lois said, “So many of my colleagues on the front line have worked so hard. I feel enormously privileged to have been able be able to get stuck in and support our services.”
Kate Holborow, High Sheriff of Cornwall who presented the awards to Simon and Lois at The Hidden Hut on Porthcurnick Beach said of Simon, “It takes motivation, willingness and generosity to do so much. You were right there. St Petrocs and Cornwall are extremely grateful.” And said that “This is huge achievement by Lois, and £500k has been brought into Cornwall from funders outside of Cornwall which has also helped our local economy.”
These are the second and third Unsung Hero Awards connected with St Petrocs. Justin Day, our Company Secretary accepted an award back in November on behalf of St Petrocs for his work in bringing empty properties back into use as St Petrocs homes.