Sandwell-based charity, Brushstrokes Community Project, has launched its first-ever public fundraising campaign to support vulnerable people in Sandwell and west Birmingham who are hardest-hit because of Covid.

The project needs to raise £85,000 this year just to keep going and provide the support that people need right now.

The pandemic has had a severe impact on Brushstrokes’ clients with many more people turning to the charity for advice and support during these difficult times. Many more are struggling to put food on the table and need the project’s support, advice, guidance, and information services to avoid crises like homelessness and destitution.

Project manager, Dave Newall, said: ‘Anyone in need in Sandwell shouldn’t have to struggle alone, isolated at home and scared not knowing what to do. Our information, and advice and support are a lifeline to people in need, helping them with any issue that’s affecting their life. During Covid, it’s even more important that people can reach us to get the advice and support they need.’

But with cancelled events, reduced fundraising opportunities and an increased demand for their help, the project is struggling to raise enough money to fund its services to support over 3,000 people every year from all of Sandwell’s communities.

So, they’ve launched a public appeal – the first in their 21 year history – to help them raise funds to keep the full range of services going.

If you can help, please donate here so that everyone in need in Sandwell can get the support they need and deserve.

Brushstrokes offers a wide range of services and can help with:

• Immigration advice for all needs, including EU
• Housing and welfare
• Tenancy issues
• Health and well-being
• Welfare and benefits
• English
• Food, clothes, and essentials like hygiene products, sanitiser and nappies

Sandwell has one of the highest rate of Coronavirus in the country.

Lucy Clark, Resources Coordinator, said: ‘With the incidence of Coronavirus so high here in Sandwell and so many people struggling to put food on the table in normal times, we’ve seen our food and essential support operation more than double over the last year. We’re now feeding almost 400 people a week and making almost 100 deliveries a week to reach the most vulnerable. But it’s not just food. We provide advice so people can stabilise their circumstances and not have to rely on food support long term. With our integrated support services people can get the help they need and move on to a more hopeful future. In these Covid times, our support is needed now more than ever.’

Located on Smethwick High Street, Brushstrokes Community Project has supported people in the local community for the last 21 years.

It works with people who are facing crises such as food poverty, homelessness, and destitution. Funds raised by this Appeal will ensure crisis services can continue.

(above) Dave Newall, project manager at Brushstrokes (taken in Sept 2019)

(main picture) Lucy Clark, resources co-ordinator at Brushstrokes, with a volunteer (taken in Nov 2019)