Fairfield community group awarded £24,000 to help support more people

The Residents of Fairfield Association has been given a £24,000 grant from the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner to expand the services offered to the community.

By Lucy Ball
Monday, 15th March 2021, 9:59 am

The money will mean the Residents of Fairfield Association (ROFA) will be able to take on more volunteers, set up more projects and help reach a wider number people in the Fairfield community.

Lia Roos, who heads up ROFA, said: “I am absolutely delighted to say we have this money coming into the community and it will do so much good.”One part of the community group is the weekly food shares where food nearing its expiry date is donated by supermarkets. Before the pandemic took hold ROFA was supporting 50 to 60 families a week although at the height of the first wave they were supporting between 130-150 families.

Lia said: “There were people struggling to make ends meet a year ago but when you think what everyone has been through in the last year with job losses and furlough and people taking reduced hours to be able to step up and be teachers while the schools have been closed, people are suffering more so than ever before.

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Residents of Fairfield Association, Lia Roos with colleagues Jacqueline Birkett, Lynn Stone and Angela Saldate

"This pandemic has taken every problem from mental health, social isolation, poverty and drink and drug issues and amplified them and people are really, really struggling.”

However, Lia and her team are working tirelessly to provide help for those who need it.

She said: “I’m not saying I can save the world – I can’t – but everyone can look after their own community and we can make a difference.”

Residents of Fairfield Association, Lia Roos with colleagues Jacqueline Birkett, Lynn Stone and Angela Saldate

Since the first lockdown started last year Lia says more people have come forward to help ROFA from the supermarkets donating food to people giving up their time to become volunteers.The money from the PCC vulnerability fund means the new volunteers can set up projects they have a passion for such as creating a befriending service and the grant will fund a new phone line.

There are also plans to increase support at the Job Club which will help more people back into work and expand the offerings available on the Dream Scheme for younger people.

She said: “There is still so much to do and we are so grateful for the grant.”

Hardyal Dhindsa, Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire, said: “When residents first contacted me with concerns last year I visited Fairfield to see the problems. They explained due to cuts in funding to the county council’s Youth Services issues such as antisocial behaviour were getting worse. I was really impressed this community was committed to tackling the problems and not just talking about them.

Residents of Fairfield Association, Lia Roos

“They applied for help from my Vulnerability Fund, they made a good case and I was pleased to be in a position to help them solve the problems. The grant will pay for a multi-agency hub offering a base that brings together various agencies, including the police, with the community to address some of the issues on the Fairfield estate.

“It’s a win-win situation as the community will see a reduction in the problems they have been facing which in turn will help to reduce demand on police time.”

Hardyal Dhindsa, Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire at his visit to the Residents of Fairfield Association last year