Combined Healthcare and Communities Together partnership continues at Blurton Community Lounge

Affordable Foods, a food waste charity in Blurton, is the host one of 18 Community Lounges in Stoke-on-Trent, provided by Communities Together. The Lounge runs weekly and Combined Healthcare, as part of the wider network of organisations through Communities Together, is on hand to offer expert mental health and wellbeing support as and when required. Communities Together offers a framework for Combined Healthcare to work with Affordable Food, through the Community Lounge but also by allowing trust teams to signpost to, and offer the support of, Affordable Food to service users in day-to-day consultations.

Photo taken outside of Affordable Food Stoke. Pictured left to right: Duane Barrett, Co-Founder of Affordable Food and Julie Wood, Locality Connector from Stoke-on-Trent City Council

The local Community Lounge offer is tailored to provide support to the community across 18 locations, making them easily accessible to local people. Free of charge to attend, the Lounges aspire to create a sense of pride and belonging within the community and maximise the strengths of our connections. The Lounges provide a place for residents, families and individuals to gain local advice and support on a range of topics. Mental health professionals from Combined Healthcare attend sessions to provide mental health and wellbeing support to attendees. Read more about the partnership between Combined Healthcare and Communities Together here.

Julie Wood, Locality Connector from Stoke-on-Trent City Council pictured below, attends the Lounge each week to provide help and support into a variety of issues relating to housing, benefits and independent living.

The support provided at each Lounge by the network of 30 organisations will depend on the needs of the individuals living in the area. Each Lounge has an Innovation Team which provides support on a weekly basis. The Innovation Teams are made up of a network of over 30 organisations from the public, private and voluntary sector in the local area. Combined Healthcare are part of the Innovation Team at Affordable Food, and can offer support as and when needed.

The Community Lounge at Affordable Food takes place on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, with the Stoke-on-Trent City Council locality connector attending on a Wednesday. When asked about the role of Affordable Food in hosting a Community Lounge, Duane Barrett, Co-Founder of the charity, said:

“We’re primarily a food waste charity that supports the community and one of the ways we do that is by offering free tea, coffee and toast in our Community Lounge. The Community Lounge is a safe warm space for people to come and meet others in the community and get support from Julie as the Locality Connector from Stoke-on-Trent City Council. It’s an easy, accessible way for people to receive support right on their doorstep.”

Affordable Food offers a range of services as well as the Community Lounge. These include:

  • free food, available to anyone that needs
  • emergency food parcels
  • community café
  • social supermarket
  • Friday dining

Since Affordable Food opened its door this year on 3 January, it has welcomed 548 people and 436 families, supporting a total of 1136 individual people (dates accurate as of 17/01/24).