Here at Look Ahead, we are grateful for the generosity of our corporate partners and supporters throughout the festive period. A range of partners from the private, public, and voluntary sectors directly supported events and activities at a number of different Look Ahead services.
Here is a roundup of how these partners did just that:
Over twenty volunteers from JTI shared their time with Look Ahead customers across six of our services in Southwark and Kensington and Chelsea. The JTI team kindly donated funds to purchase essential personal hygiene products and festive treats and spent time wrapping about 300 gift packs for our customers and putting up Christmas decorations, giving our services a festive feel for customers to enjoy.
Our Warwick Road Homelessness Service in west London was treated by another hardworking volunteer team too. Martin, Jenny, and Jhon from Ecocare Facilities swung by to help prepare a slap-up festive meal for our customers, and to decorate the service.
Asda Foundation and Canary Wharf Group
Customers from our Tower Hamlets mental health services enjoyed a well-attended festive pizza party at our Coventry Road Recovery Centre in Bethnal Green over the Christmas period. The event, alongside other activities such as arts and crafts sessions, were funded with generous support from the Asda Foundation and Canary Wharf Group. Canary Wharf Group also funded local parties at other Look Ahead services in the borough, such as our Tower Hamlets Crisis House.
The Felix Project
Our Coventry Road team also welcomed customers back the following week on 28 December, for their regular food hub and social group, run in partnership with the Felix Project. The Felix Project team distributed a fantastic variety of food from meals to fruit and vegetables, snacks, sweet treats, drinks, and yoghurts. The project has been going from strength to strength and is continuing to have a positive impact by supporting at least 40 customers every week.
Last week was no exception, as staff from other Look Ahead mental health and learning disability services across Tower Hamlets and Newham, were able to drop by and collect food to take back to their own customers as well. The Coventry Road team estimate that an additional 69 customers benefited as a result. The hub also gave our staff the opportunity to spread festive cheer to local partners, by sharing food with colleagues from the NHS Bethnal Green Community Neighbourhood Mental Health Team.
Lambeth Council and Iceland
During the Christmas period, Look Ahead’s Lambeth mental health services launched a new Food Hub and Community Tea Corner with a festive celebration. The bi-weekly project is funded by two grants from Lambeth Council. One of the grants is for creating a warm space, and the other is for supporting individuals who have been affected by the cost-of-living crisis.
During the event, customers had tea and coffee, played games, and chatted amongst themselves, they also had the opportunity to take home a selection of food and personal hygiene products, and enjoyed hot meals as well as party food generously donated by Iceland. Our customers can now look forward to the hub as a regular fixture in their routine until April 2024.
Our supporters from homelessness charity Social Bite also brought festive cheer to many of our customers, by donating some 355 gifts to no fewer than 24 Look Ahead services. The gift boxes were filled with a variety of goodies for customers including chocolates, toys for children, slippers, hats, gloves and more.
Stay tuned for a story about the impact of our annual Secret Santa fundraising campaign, which raised almost £18,000 in 2023, and helped us provide a brighter Christmas with presents and parties for hundreds of customers across our services in London and the South East. Thank you to everyone who participated for their generosity and commitment to the people we support.