A local community group which serves Etruria and Shelton, in Stoke-on-Trent is celebrating after securing £2,500 of funding from the National Lottery’s Local Connections programme. The ‘Celebration Generation’ project will help to break down barriers between younger and older generations by helping them to connect through traditional methods including pen pal letter writing packs whilst also providing opportunities for young people to buddy up with older residents to help them to embrace new technologies
Etruria Matters was born out of an old residents’ association serving Etruria and Shelton. Over the past year, the community group has become increasingly well known for the support it offers to residents across all areas of the multi-ethnic and diverse community it serves.
During the Covid crisis, many people have approached the group because they were struggling to afford to buy food for their families. Matt Crompton from the group initially secured an agreement with a local Co-op store to collect food that would be going to waste to share with a few families and so the ‘Pantry’ was born.
Claire Bryan the manager of Freemasons' Hall in Shelton heard about Etruria Matters towards the end of 2020 and contacted the group. Claire then approached the Freemasons who meet at Shelton and they made donations which presently stand at £1,400 for food for the Pantry. Claire now delivers food weekly to Etruria Matters.
Matt said: ‘Without Claire and the donations of fresh fruit and veg, bread and milk our food bank could not exist. She not only has arranged for financial donations to come from the Masonic Lodges to the Pantry but she and her husband, Gareth, give their time by shopping and delivering the fresh produce to us every week. The Masonic family is our largest donor to the foodbank and without Claire and the Freemasons we would not have achieved as much as we have, we now support 50 to 60 families every week and by mid-February had delivered over 5,000 meals.'
Claire said, ‘I have been stunned by the level of support that I’ve received from Freemasons at Shelton following my appeal for support for the local food bank, this pandemic is going to be with us for some months yet and we are determined to keep supporting this worthy cause’.
The community group is encouraging more residents to get involved. The group can be found on Facebook by searching for Etruria Matters.