What we do
Pan Together exists to support and provide a community hub for the residents of East Newport, which – according to September 2019’s Indices of Deprivation – includes the Isle of Wight’s most disadvantaged area, ranked at 5.8% in England’s most deprived neighbourhoods.
Many people in our community face multiple challenges and a significant proportion of local residents are amongst society’s most vulnerable and marginalised. A shocking 35% of local children were growing up in poverty in 2019 (compared to an England average of 17%) and the situation has undoubtedly worsened in the wake of the pandemic.
Pan Together’s trustees took the swift decision to close Downside Community Centre and the Isobel Community Café to visitors on 17th March 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus emergency. In the 365 days from 18th March 2020 to 17th March 2021, the charity supported vulnerable and isolated people – predominantly within Pan, Pan Meadows and Barton in East Newport – with lifeline support services in 3,962 different ways.
In 2021 to 2022, our lifeline support services continued until 5th November 2021. In the period from mid-March 2021, volunteers and staff at Pan Together supported local residents in a further 1,338 ways. The majority of these support services were in the form of home-delivered lunches for vulnerable adults – but we also provided nearly 150 no-cost children’s meals for families in particular hardship, as well as continuing to do rounds of essential shopping and prescription collections / deliveries.
The charity has once again really proved its worth this year and we’ve been somewhat overwhelmed with the thanks we’ve received in relation to our lifeline support service provision. As a local mum with two primary-aged children told us:
“The team at Downside Community Centre provided us with a lifeline during the pandemic. After both my partner and I were out of work, they provided hot meals every single day for my two children, which took major financial pressure away knowing my children could be fed until we could figure out what would happen next.
“Like many of us, we were scared and unsure of what was going to happen – but they were always there, with donations of things to entertain the children and help with school work. Now we have come out the other side, I have become good friends with them and so have my family. I will always do what I can to now return the favour to them and the Pan Community Centre”.
The lifeline support service data outlined above doesn’t include the increasing demand for food, fuel and clothing support from families in severe need because of the cost of living crisis. These referrals come predominantly from the Family Liaison Officer at Barton Primary School or directly.
As well as distributing 30 Christmas family food boxes, 35 crisis supermarket vouchers have been dished out and over 50 local households have been supported to access the Isle of Wight Council’s online supermarket vouchers for local residents in receipt of council tax benefits.
Having identified the growing need in Autumn 2021, our community support services are – sadly – increasingly essential to local residents. As one mum with two teenagers and a nursery-aged child told us:
“I just wanted say thank you for the kind and very generous ASDA voucher I received from Pan Together today. I’ve never asked for help before as I find it extremely embarrassing but was getting so desperate I actually thought about stealing food to feed my kids.
“I just don’t know how people are going to cope in the near future. Just this past four days I have gone through £12 of gas. That’s without electric, bills, food, rent and the ever growing council tax.
“Thank you, Pan Together and the kind ladies Laura and Rachel for continuing to support and reassure the least fortunate. I have now been referred to the relevant people to help with my fuel bills and try and get back on top again. Thank you again. You amaze me. No questions, no judgement, no pressure – just pure love and support. I can only imagine where I would be now if I didn’t have you to turn to”.
The trustees’ vision is to continue to develop the increasingly vibrant centre’s role at the heart of the community to new levels, focusing on its further development as a community hub to support more and different local residents – young, old and in all their diversity.
Once again, the past year has been a real journey for Pan Together’s volunteers and staff. We continue to mature as a charity working for the interests of local people and acting as advocates on their behalf.
Without the help of our stalwart volunteers plus very generous donations and successful grant applications, we simply couldn’t have achieved what we have – and we really do appreciate everyone’s support tremendously. The trustees have been very proud to have shaped all of Pan Together’s work this year and thank everyone who has made such excellent contributions so that the charity can continue to make a real and tangible difference to our community.
Here for you
We are here to help local residents however we can – and often provide informal signposting, help and advice to people who ask for our support. We really are a community hub and anyone is welcome to drop in for a chat with our friendly volunteers and staff. We’ll provide whatever assistance we can – but can also make suggestions as to other organisations who might be better placed to offer more expert advice. We have lots of volunteers doing all sorts of different things and if you’d like to offer your help, just contact us. We can also sometimes provide work experience and have a range of free courses to help people brush up their skills. Do please pop in and get involved.
Supporting the Pan community since 2007.
If you would like to get involved in our work or support us in any way, please: