Islington community centre hands out 1,000th food parcel amid pandemic
- Credit: Hilldrop Community Centre
A community centre in Islington has handed out 1,000 food parcels to help those in need amid the pandemic, and held a Christmas appeal.
Hilldrop Community Centre, based in Hilldrop Road, gave out Christmas Parcels on Tuesday to disadvantaged families and individuals in Islington.
Throughout November to early December, the centre has been receiving donations from Islington residents, which included items such as woolly hats, tins of biscuits and chocolates.
Their parcels also consisted of toys for children from the East London Business Alliance (ELBA) annual toy appeal.
Head of the centre Elaine Maffrett said: “Islington has one of the highest levels of child poverty, we need to remind ourselves of this fact.”
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Elaine added that those who received the Christmas parcels were members of the centre's food hub, which started as a result of the first lockdown in April.
Prior to this, the centre focused on after-school clubs at subsidised rates for working parents, under-fives and weekly sew and craft clubs, as well as other activities.
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However, after Covid, it introduced an emergency food hub which runs every Tuesday from 12pm to 2pm.
The centre delivers to roughly 50 households per week and on December 8, it delivered its 1000th parcel.
However, this has not come without its challenges.
Elaine said: “The March-April period was a scary period, 50 per cent of funding was gone as we generate half of our income, we were running on two months of operating expenses.
“Like the rest of the country, we were wondering what will happen to our jobs and lives.”
Nevertheless, with the assistance of individuals and organisations, the centre was able to dispel such worries.
Elaine credits the St George's Mutual Aid Group, businesses such as the Nisa store on Brecknock Road and Marks and Spencer, and strategic support from Islington Council and the
Octopus Communities network, which all helped with the food bank.
She also expressed gratitude to the City Bridge Trust, which financed £10,000 to the food bank, and the Gunners Fund, which supported the initiative with £1,800 for bulk buying non-perishable foods.
Find out more about the Hilldrop Community Centre at https://www.hilldrop.org.uk