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Posted on 11th March 2024

The Feed, Norwich: Little bright lights case study

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This blog is a case study from The Feed in Norwich about Michelle who has been coming to their Social Supermarket. Alongside the supermarket, The Feed also offer a community cafe and kitchen as well as wider wraparound services and support to deliver their vision of ‘communities where everyone thrives’. They are part of the Nourishing Norfolk Network, which is Feeding Britain’s regional partner for Norfolk. You can find out more about The Feed here.

“I’ve made some friends here, my benefits are back in place, I’m on the waiting list for Equal Lives and I’ve actually got some money to eat. Being able to pay at the social supermarket, rather than rely on vouchers, is a little win. You’ve been helping me sort things out that are important to me and my family.”

Michelle came to the Social Supermarket after someone at our cafe at REST, on Bethel Street suggested that she could come to us for assistance.

Michelle is living with a number of complex conditions which affect her mental, physical and emotional health in a profound way. When she came to us, the cost of living crisis had hit and Michelle gave money to her 18 year old son for food, but didn’t have enough for herself. ‘As a mum it’s what you do’ she says. Michelle did have a support package in place with social services, but was finding things tough financially. She had applied to the Norfolk Assistance Scheme for money for food previously. 

When her support package changed, it wasn’t suitable for her needs. Michelle needs consistency and she never knew who was going to turn up to her door, they weren’t experienced and didn’t take account of her individual needs. After one particularly harmful incident, she cancelled the care package but deductions continued to be taken from her benefits. 

Michelle set herself some goals to work on with us.

  • To be able to pay for food in the social supermarket
  • To meet and connect with new people
  • To find what support she was entitled to and get help to access it

Michelle’s communication is affected by a neurological disorder. She asked for assistance with phone calls and communicating with a number of different agencies. 

We worked with Michelle to help her achieve her goals. Together we… 

  • Contacted social services to arrange for a reassessment of need under the Care Act.
  • Contacted Norfolk County Council to arrange for the benefit deductions to be stopped and for a refund for the amounts incorrectly deducted. Made a referral to a local Social Enterprise Your Own Place, to get help to access her child tax credits (which has been stopped) and 1:1 support with budgeting. 
  • Communicated with the Community Mental Health team to get support for her and her son. 
  • Made a referral to Equal Lives for an advocate to help her in the longer term. This was accepted and she is now on the waiting list. 
  • Complained to PALS when a medical appointment she had been waiting for, for three years was cancelled a week before and a date of July 2024 was offered instead. The complaint was upheld and Michelle has since had the appointment and treatment. 
  • Applied to Anguish Educational Foundation for funding to help her son return to work. He received £750 for him to purchase chef whites. 
  • Made a referral to Norfolk Community Pet Food Bank. 
  • Arranged for repairs to be made to her home with her landlord.

“I’ve made some friends here, my benefits are back in place, I’m on the waiting list for Equal Lives and I’ve actually got some money to eat. Being able to pay at the social supermarket is a little win. You’ve been helping me sort things out that are important to me and my family.”

“Recently, I was so debilitated, that I had to stay at home for a few days. I had the staff at The Feed in my mind and knowing that I would see them again soon was what kept me going. My life isn’t easy, but I’m always looking for the little bright lights. You are my bright lights.”