A Warm & Hearty Park Wood Welcome this winter

BySue Maidens

A Warm & Hearty Park Wood Welcome this winter

In December 2023 Fusion successfully secured funding from the National Lottery Cost of Living Fund and launched our:

A Warm & Hearty Park Wood
Welcome this winter

project in early January 2024. 

This project was developed in response to our 2023 client survey where 61% of the local people surveyed said they were concerned about the cost-of-living crisis, food and fuel poverty. 

Based on figures collected from November 2022 to March 2023 demand for our different community services at Fusion is at its highest.  As part of the project development, and to address the concerns highlighted in the survey results Fusion implemented a combination of existing services and introduced some exciting new initiatives.

This funding allowed us to:

  • Provide a total of 2880 nutritious takeaway meals for vulnerable local residents
  • Register Fusion as a Warm Welcome Space
  • Offer free tea/coffee, free Wi-Fi and free access to public computers
  • Run two additional Slow Cookery Courses
  • Increase delivery of our Family Therapeutic/IAG service
  • Recruit a part-time outreach worker to engage with target groups in the local community who are most likely to be struggling with the cost of living crisis
  • Open longer hours and open for some weekend so support could be accessed 7 days a week

A total of 23 volunteers assisted in the mobilisation of this project dedicating 612 hours of their time.  We also recruited 2 session workers to assist with the preparation, cooking and distribution of the meals.  Fusion also formed a partnership with Hungry Hearts for the Homeless providing meals for their clients on a weekly basis. 


“My allergies mean that I can’t get cheap ready-made allergen meals, so having this option has been really helpful. I can’t make things like mash due to my disabilities so having a meal made for me was really nice, and not having to worry about my allergies as well made this so good. My daughter has been off ill from school, so if I hadn’t had these meals I would have really struggled to afford to feed us both as she normally receives free school meals.”

“I’ll go back to having a sandwich or microwave meal instead. I think the meals have been brilliant, I would definitely take part again.”

“I am housebound and have poor mobility. The meals have been a great help to me and my husband as he is my main career. They have taken the pressure off us.”

“I don’t know what I would have done without it, I definitely wouldn’t have been having hot food. My wife is ill so I have to cook for myself. It’s been really good.”

“It’s really easy to access, I’ve been skipping meals or eating really unhealthy food before this.”

“I would have had to purchase extra food and spend more money. This has made a big difference for my children and not having to use gas when cooking. It’s been brilliant, really has helped my family and helped with the living cost. Thank you all so much.”

66% of participants are struggling with the cost of living crisis.

45% of participants had gone without a meal before the project.

Because of the project 84% have not gone without a meal.

Sue Maidens CEO of Fusion said “I am immensely proud of the Fusion team for the delivery and coordination of this project.  To prepare, cook and serve 2880 meals to the community is just amazing.  All the staff became involved at some level and to receive such positive feedback makes all the hard work even more worthwhile.  Thank you to the National Lottery for making the delivery of this project to the Park Wood Community possible”.

National Lottery Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund

About the author

Sue Maidens administrator