The Rock Foundation’s new hub and food bank officially opens thanks to incredible community support
The new premises on Garibaldi Street have been transformed thanks to countless volunteers and businesses who have offered their support – The Rock Foundation founder Pam Hodge said she is ’emotional but relieved’
An all-new community hub and food bank where people in need can access an array of help and support has officially opened in the East Marsh after months of hard work by teams of dedicated volunteers. The Rock Foundation’s new premises on Garibaldi Street, Grimsby was opened by The Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Cllr Ian Lindley, in a special opening ceremony on Monday, September 18.
Work to bring back to life the former toilet block and top floor, both of which were left derelict for many years, has been underway since January, thanks to generous donations by local businesses and volunteers who have taken time out to help. From £110,000 donated by The Cadent Foundation to go towards projects to address the causes and impact of fuel poverty, £24,000 donated by Morrisons for the building’s electrics, £3,000 by NatWest for the windows, and a new, state-of-the-art kitchen installed completely free of charge by staff at Tronox, the project couldn’t have gone ahead without their support, said The Rock Foundation founder, Pam Hodge.
Dulux and Crown Decorating Centre also donated thousands of pounds’ worth of paint to spruce up the building, while volunteers from CPO’s Creating Positive Action scheme took time out to decorate the top floor of the new hub.
Pam, who founded the charity in 2008, told Grimsby Live: “It’s just a huge relief to know it’s all done. When we saw the state of it when we moved in – there were hundreds of needles on the floors – and everything was broken, windows smashed everywhere, it was just a derelict building. And just to see it today as it is, it’s just a fantastic achievement to everybody who has worked so hard to bring it to life. It’s quite emotional.”
The new Rock Foundation hub will continue to offer its crucial food parcel pick-up service three days a week – from 1pm to 3pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Service users will now also be able to access support to cut their energy costs and benefit and housing advice, among other services, on the hub’s top floor.
The Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Cllr Ian Lindley, said: “I think it’s great to see a resource being put to good use and how the community have come together and supported this and made it a reality. All the hard work they’ve done in terms of getting it cleaned up and cleared out and decorating, has all been by volunteers, and it’s been a great community effort.”
Rebecca Kirvan-Rodgers and Gavin Jones from Tronox were present at the opening day on behalf of the 50 employees who took time out to fit a brand new kitchen and flooring in the new hub, on a completely voluntary basis.
The kitchen will hold regular cooking classes for service users of The Rock Foundation, who will also be able to take home a slow cooker free of charge after their first session.
Rebecca said: “At the end of last year we saw the article that Pam had done and we just wanted to do something to help. We understood the challenge of getting this place turned around, so we put together a very quick plan and got a team of volunteers in here to fit a kitchen and the flooring.
“They were made up of all different people from across our business, from apprentices to long-term managers. It’s really rewarding to see, and the fact that it’s going to help so many people who are so much in need in our community. “
“I just think they’ve done an amazing job, people have given up a lot of time to help out and come here to use their skills to help make a difference,” Gavin added.
Speaking about The Rock Foundation’s food bank – which is also run entirely by a team of selfless volunteers and caters to struggling families, singles and homeless people – Pam told Grimsby Live that at the time of writing, approximately 720 bags are being donated on a weekly basis, and this number is expected to rise.
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