Keeping the people of Southwark fed and safe during lockdown

A community enterprise has handed out more than 9,000 meals during lockdown and provided vital support for vulnerable people staying at home.

Coin Street helped 1,040 residents a week across Waterloo and north Southwark, including key workers and individuals who are shielding.

Natalie Bell, head of Coin Street’s youth and community programmes team, said: “Our strength is the fact we are locally based with a huge range of skills, mixed resources and trusted relationships with local people and organisations.

“Our support ranges from providing printing services to food parcels to shopping and resources and activities for children living in temporary accommodation or crowded flats. We are keeping people connected.”

Of the meals delivered, 7,075 were through Kitchen Social, a programme set up by the Mayor’s fund for London.

Kitchen Social was set up to give children a safe place to socialise and eat healthy food during school holidays.

Coin Street’s partners FEAST and OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie, run by Harvey Nichols, has also cooked 1,000 meals for the local community.

To date, Harvey Nichols and Blackfriars Settlement have provided SE1 adults with more than 1,800 meals.

Visits have also been a lifeline for isolated or vulnerable residents to chat with.

Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi, Lambeth council leader Jack Hopkins, and Lambeth ward councillor Jenny Mosley have all volunteered within their communities.

Coin Street has also supplied 248 care packages and 150 washable masks, making regular ‘check in’ phone calls, helping people to access and use Zoom and is running a timetable of virtual sessions.

Ms Bell said: “We are witnessing the community pulling together, looking after each other and trying harder to be in sync.

“Volunteers from all backgrounds are contributing, which has been heart-warming.

“Staff are supporting each other emotionally and practically, which has strengthened us and kept us going.

“I think Coin Street will come out more accessible, flexible, wiser and resilient at the end of this.”

Pictured top: Lambeth council leader, Jack Hopkins

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