Coronavirus: Eastenders star Michelle Collins fears young actors could be pushed into poverty and ‘leave the industry’

Michelle Collins delivering food. Pictured: Michelle Collins

Michelle Collins delivering food. Pictured: Michelle Collins - Credit: Archant

Former Eastenders star Michelle Collins fears young actors are being pushed into poverty during the coronavirus crisis and could “leave the industry”.

Michelle, from East Finchley and who lived on Holloway’s Ringcross Estate as a teen, has been delivering food parcels to vulnerable people who can’t leave home during lockdown.

She is a patron of Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation (AWTF), in Gladsmuir Road, Archway, which runs a clothes bank and organises supplies that go into food parcels distributed through the Ringcross Community Centre.

Michelle has been collecting food parcels from the centre and delivering them to people in Islington and Haringey about three times a day.

She told this paper: “Before the lockdown, 15 people a day were coming to the food bank and now it’s up to 70 a day. That’s like up 450 per cent. Quite unbelievable, isn’t it?

“I think food banks were something people thought: ‘That will never effect me, I will never have to go to the food bank.’

“But to be honest with you the sort of people going to food banks now a few months ago would never have needed a food bank.

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“I was amazed how many young people were there. It’s really changed.”

Michelle added: “It’s a time for everybody to help each other show some compassion and you now what it could be you some day, particularly in my industry. In the entertainment worlds, the hospitality worlds, we’ve all had our jobs stripped away from us.

“It’s devastating what’s happening in my industry and I really worry for a lot of young people, particularly who are starting out, who will probably leave the industry because they won’t be able to afford to live - particularly a lot of young actors.

“Most people in my industry are out of work. It’s always been precarious but a lot of people supplement their income by working in the hospitality worlds. They can’t even do that so what are they going to do?”

The AWTF foundation has launched an appeal to ask for non-perishable food donations that can be included in the food parcels and also for money to help keep the service open.

You can drop donations of at any of these addresses: 70 Gladsmuir Road, London N19 3JU; Greens of Highgate, Highgate High Street, London N6 5JR; Greens Muswell Hill, 112 Muswell Hill, N10 3RU; Ringcross Community Centre 70 Lough Road N7 8RH

Click here for a directory of agencies helping people in Islington during the pandemic.

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