The Holistic Model:
our move away from being a foodbank
For many years we struggled with how to define the work we do.
When the charity first began, we were operating as a foodbank, but quickly realised the traditional foodbank model did not work to actually tackle crisis or poverty. We realised that distributing food parcels alone was bandaging over the deep–rooted problems of poverty, not solving them.
Since individuals are usually referred to us with no income and no food, we continued to give emergency food support, for just a few days at a time in order to fix the immediate hunger and also limit dependency. We then focus the main bulk of our efforts on working quickly to understand why the individual referred to us has fallen into crisis and how they, and those who depend on them, have been affected.
In terms of how that looks day to day, we give person-centric, rapid support to clients who have recently hit a crisis in order to get their lives back on track as quickly as possible. That often means stopping evictions for people who are being wrongly evicted, supporting domestic abuse victims or reclaiming benefits for vulnerable individuals and families who are entitled to them. And sometimes that might mean giving the client an emergency food parcel to keep them going for a week until income kicks in, sometimes not…
What it always means is dedicated support to get individuals out of the crisis they are facing. It means ensuring we get to the bottom of the problem so that it stays away. It means being prepared to ask the uncomfortable questions that help get these individuals back to a more comfortable life. We do the hard work. We don’t dust over problems and move along. We help to put an end to the crisis and create permanent change. We are First Love Foundation, a crisis service. At First Love Foundation, we love first – and love is at the very centre of every action we take. We show compassion to every individual we meet, show empathy where there may not have been empathy previously. For us it’s about listening, empowering, putting ourselves in their shoes and helping them to re-build their confidence so they can take steps towards living independently again.
We help hundreds of people every month to turn their lives around. We have more than 10 years’ experience in putting an end to crisis. And the most beautiful thing about it is our model works.
How you can help
Want to help the local community? There are different ways to get involved.
Out most pressing need right now is funding. Our charity is funded by the public, by people just like you.
Donations help us with the core part of our work, with solving immediate crisis and keeping it away.
You can donate here: Donate money
Donate your time
We have a very small team, so any time you can give will make a difference – from helping at our office, assisting us with graphic design for our social media posts, providing interpreter support for non-English-speaking clients, or getting involved in our employment support programme – we couldn’t do it without you.
“By the time that I left the foodbank that first day, I remember feeling that it was possible for me to get out of this rut, that it was possible for me to move forward.”
former foodbank volunteer
“If I could list my achievements, at the top would be working with First Love Foundation because it personifies what we’re trying to do. It puts a face on it.”
Housing Benefits Policy Manager
“That first step through the foodbank door is the hardest step that you’ll ever make but it’s the best step you’ll ever make because it’s the best support, the best network and the best advice.”
single mum of three