Estate funding is switched by Old Ford housing panel to help volunteers cope with Covid crisis

Commumnity kitchen set up in the summer wirh cash from Clarion Foundation. Picture: Women's Inclusive Team

Commumnity kitchen set up in the summer wirh cash from Clarion Foundation. Picture: Women's Inclusive Team - Credit: Women's Inclusive Team

Cash normally earmarked for East End housing estate projects is being switched to help tackle the pandemic emergency.

Emergency food distribution to isolated Somali families caught up in lockdown. Picture: Women's Inclusive Team

Emergency food distribution to isolated Somali families caught up in lockdown. Picture: Women's Inclusive Team - Credit: Women's Inclusive Team

The resident-led Old Ford community panel has pledged £55,000 this week to help food banks and groups dealing with isolation in the community.

Most of the panel’s current projects funded by Clarion Futures charitable foundation have now been put on hold.

Panel members decided instead to use the funds to support 11 organisations now dealing with food poverty, mental health, isolation and loneliness.

“The pandemic has caused all sorts of problems,” panel chair Jackie Harris said.


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“It was this realisation that led us to explore ways to support those groups who may have otherwise slipped through the net. We hope these grants will help them strengthen what they do and continue making a difference.”

Organisations getting the funds include Age UK East London to provide telephone support to elderly people, Bethnal Green foodbank and Bow foodbank supplying those in need, Mind mental health charity for projects reducing loneliness and isolation and the First Love Foundation in Bethnal Green whose project workers carry out crisis intervention.

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Age UK East London’s Helen Stack said: “This funding lets us to reach more older people in need during the pandemic. For Old Ford community panel to reallocate their annual budget to support groups like us will have a huge impact.”

Funds from the Clarion foundation were switched in the summer to help volunteers from the Women’s Inclusive Team set up a community kitchen and meal distribution network to reach the East End’s isolated Somali community that couldn’t access services.

The women cooked 5,000 hot meals and delivered nearly 2,000 food boxes to families who had been caught up in the lockdown since March. They used the cash from Clarion to reach 800 vulnerable people.

The latest funding is also being given to Bookmark Reading literacy programme for children, Bow Haven and Place2Be which support those with mental health problems, Beyond the Streets which helps vulnerable women in the East End and Tower Hamlets Friends and Neighbours which runs a telephone befriending service to reduce isolation.

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