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Teardrops Supporting Your Community
Supporting Your Community, founded in 2016, are a charity
based in St. Helen’s. They provide services to local homeless and vulnerable
people after founder, Shauni Ward, noticed a lack of support in the evenings
Locally, Teardrops are well known for their work, care, and strong community partnerships. This case study discusses their services, the opportunities and challenges they have faced and then offers some advice for organisations to develop similar initiatives and community links.
What do Teardrops do?
In 2018, Teardrops set up their ‘Hub’ which hosts a café, advice drop-in service and clothes store. With 50–60 visitors a night, the hub provides a safe space to socialise and receive café quality food and drinks free of charge. From the hub and across the community, Teardrops also offer:
- Monthly food trays for primary school children in lower socio-economic areas which serve over 120 families per month.
- A prom store in the summer months to provide young people with all their prom needs for free, when they otherwise might not be able to afford it.
- The largest Christmas hamper appeal in St Helens, providing nearly 1,000 hampers per year.
- Housing and benefits advice from a designated Homeless Prevention Team, offered twice weekly along with free breakfast.
Teardrop’s success is largely due to their ability to adapt and provide new services to support their vulnerable community and meet their changing requirements. During the pandemic, Teardrops changed their full name from ‘Teardrops Supporting the Homeless’ to ‘Teardrops Supporting Your Community’ as they felt their offer could then be more inclusive of their wider community.
To ensure their future and financial sustainability, Teardrops are opening a new community café to provide affordable provisions for local families and community members who may wish to support them. Teardrops also plan to open a community upcycling shop with reasonably priced, repurposed or upcycled furniture to help community members in equipping their homes.
These new ventures are driven by the desire to keep their services running and free to use, and present additional opportunities for local people to forge community links, learn new skills, and possibly find jobs or volunteering roles.
Teardrops successes and developments have not come without challenges. In light of the pandemic and increased living costs, Teardrops have experienced fewer donations, of both food and money, as many have less disposable income to offer. They have also witnessed a greater need in the community which their services and resources struggle to fully address.
To ensure their survival Teardrops identified quieter hub days where they could then close the facility to save on running and other daily costs. This meant on the days they are open they can help the community far better, whilst ensuring their financial security.
Teardrops also support other charities and organisations by forming strong community partnerships. For example, when they receive a large food donation, they often reach out to local food banks to offer excess supplies.
Teardrop’s general manager, Nick Dyer, stated that they ‘Understand we’re not serving everyone in the community. That is why we are happy to offer support to other charities and spread donations to as many people in need as possible’.
Teardrops have links with schools through their food tray distribution, they take a preventative approach with younger community members to try to limit those who may require their services in the future.
Links with local businesses have also led to further support for schools in the area, with one of Teardrops’ partners sending employees to help renovate and maintain a nearby school free of charge.
Teardrops have close relationships with multiple local sports club such as Portico Vine ARLFC and St. Helens Town AFC who help by hosting fundraisers, collecting donations and spreading awareness. Teardrops ensure that the proceeds from fundraising events are split with the organisation.
Teardrops advice to others
- Communicate and link with as many other community organisations as possible.
- Take a personable approach when thanking people/organisations for donations – handwritten ‘thank you’ cards go a long way.
- Ensure social media posts are informative so that donors know exactly how their donations are benefiting the community.
- Consider your community as a whole, not just the section of the community which you currently provide for.
To support Teardrops work you can visit their website: Teardrops Supporting Your Community. Here you can donate, find their social media accounts and read more about their projects.
Explore Club Matters for more information on creating community links/partnerships and supporting people’s wellbeing through community links.