As the cost-of-living crisis continues, making sure our customers do not go without has been an important priority for Look Ahead.
One initiative that deserves recognition for this is the new Social Food Hub set up by the team at our Coventry Road Mental Health Service in Tower Hamlets, in partnership with the Felix Project, who work to prevent hunger and food waste across London.
The food hub offers customers from across Look Ahead’s Tower Hamlets Mental Health Services a meal and food parcel every Thursday.
The hub was recently launched and was a big hit. Customers from different services came and enjoyed hot meals of lentil or beef chilli con carne with rice, and a variety of activities including pool, watching the World Cup, and having a hot cup of tea and a chat.
Speaking about the new partnership, Damien Conrad, the Community Partnerships Manager at the Felix Project said:
“The Felix Project is thrilled to partner with Look Ahead for this unique collaboration. It will not only mean clients can enjoy free nutritious food each week, it will also help them along the road to employment by offering volunteering opportunities at our depots that will build their skills and confidence.
The meals that are being delivered come from the Felix Kitchen at Poplar; which recently celebrated making its millionth tasty healthy meal, since opening in August 2021.”
Look Ahead customers both past and present also had the opportunity to develop their skills by volunteering at the hub. Connie, a former Look Ahead customer who wanted to gain experience, has taken on new responsibilities and a regular role distributing the food.
Connie said: “I am happy to give up my time and energy to help others who aren’t as fortunate as me, to make an impact. When I volunteer, I may be helping people that would not get help.
I could be helping to save the life of someone. I am making a difference in the organisation. Volunteering makes me feel confident.”
After the event Karen Browne, Look Ahead’s Tower Hamlets Mental Health Services Area Service Manager responsible for the Coventry Road service said:
“It was a pleasure to welcome so many of our customers to our new Social Food Hub at our Coventry Road Service in Tower Hamlets, and be joined by Damien and Denisa, our partners at the Felix Project. Around 70 people came along, enjoyed a home cooked meal and took home a bag of healthy groceries, fruits and vegetables for the rest of the week all provided by the Felix Project.
“We are delighted that we are going to be able to offer this service to Look Ahead mental health customers in Tower Hamlets on a weekly basis, especially in the context of the current cost of living crisis. We hope it helps to ease some of the pressures for those we support.”
To find out more about the Felix Project, please click here.