A Lewisham restaurant has been given an award for their work with homeless people during the pandemic.
Sujan Katuwal, owner of the Panas Gurkha restaurant on Lee High Road near Blackheath, has been donating hot meals to the Woolwich Service User Project (WSUP) since March 2020.
He said: “We never planned to do it, we never thought that Covid would go this far. But when we started we never looked back.
“Being Nepalese, and being a Gurkha, we are not only the bravest of the brave in the battlefield, we are the kindest of the kind.
“Up until now people know Gurkha for our bravery. We are not only brave, we are the kindest people. So I want to give that message on behalf of Nepalese people to my community.”
During the height of the pandemic, Mr Katuwal was visiting the charity twice a week, giving out 30 to 40 meals each time.
Although they have cut down to just once a week as life has begun to return to normal, he said he has no plans to stop helping people.
He said: “When people ask me when are you going to stop, I say I’m not going to stop. As long as people need me I’m there, whatever level I can do.
“I do it because I enjoy doing this, and because they need our help big time.”
He added: “It gives me self satisfaction and joy, and seeing the smile on those peoples faces is the best thing I’ve ever encountered.
“It’s very close to my heart.”
The restaurant was presented the Covid-19 Response Champion Award by the new mayor of Greenwich, Cllr Denise Hyland.
The ceremony was held on the Cutty Sark on July 26 and included a performance from the NHS Choir, and speeches from the Leader of the Council, Cllr Danny Thorpe and past Mayor, Cllr Linda Bird.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Danny Thorpe: “This event was a great opportunity to show our appreciation to those who selflessly put others before themselves over the past year, as well as welcoming in our new Mayor for 2021 to 2022.
“We are very privileged in the Royal Borough of Greenwich to have so many people to give thanks to, and to be able to host this event now that restrictions have been lifted.”
WSUP is a grass-roots project that supports those seeking help in the local community.
They provide practical and emotional support specifically to service users who are experiencing homelessness, vulnerable housing or are recovering from illness or addiction.
Other winners of the Covid-19 Response Champion Awards included Volunteer Centre Greenwich, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, Charlton Athletic Community Trust, Charlton Athletic Football Club, and the NHS South East London CCG (Greenwich).
Pictured top: L-R: Panas head chef Ram Paudal, Sujan Katuwal, Cllr Denise Hyland, and Bandana Katuwal.
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