Production line to be set up with 'massive increase' in food support for residents in need
The army of H&F CAN volunteers - now almost 2,000 strong - will now join forces with Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank to increase the number of food parcels sent out to residents in need by at least 400%.
The council says it asked the owners of Olympia London for help this week to vastly expand the urgent H&F CAN and Foodbank effort.
As a result, Olympia kindly offered their Olympia National building – the sister hall of the iconic Olympia Grand – free of charge.
H&F Foodbank founder Daphine Aikens says the move to the centre in Hammersmith Road means a dramatic scaling-up of foodbank parcel deliveries.
"It has let us set up a production line here to increase the help we can offer," said Daphine, who has recently been awarded an MBE for her service to the community.
Instead of being able to supply around 160 food parcels a week to the most vulnerable, the reach of the service will hugely increase.
“We’ll be able to do 800 parcels a week, even 1,000 a week,” she said. "We simply can’t do that at the moment with our existing space restrictions."
Daphine, who set up the foodbank 10 years ago added: "By using the Olympia National building, we can upscale and move to a full delivery service to help anyone without the money for food.
"It’s a massive increase in what we can achieve. We’re able to do it because we have our own committed and trained volunteers, together with H&F Council staff and other local volunteers.
"The response we’ve had in the last week or two of the coronavirus has been incredible; this community has been incredible, and we’re so grateful to everyone."
The Foodbank centres in Fulham, West Kensington and White City will remain open for the next two weeks as the large-scale distribution centre at Olympia London becomes fully operational.
Food deliveries will be carried by private vehicles with DBS-registered volunteers, taxi cabs, H&F Council staff and people donating their time.
"Working with Olympia London, the Foodbank and our amazing army of CAN volunteers, we want everyone to know we are on their side through this national emergency," said Cllr Sue Fennimore. “Together, we are determined to support those most in need – at the time of their greatest need.”
Nigel Nathan, Managing Director of Olympia London, said: “In these difficult times, we’re delighted to be able to play our small part by offering Olympia London to Hammersmith & Fulham Council and the Foodbank while they provide vital help to thousands of people that need it most in our local community. Their teams are doing a heroic job.
!And I’m also so grateful to our few staff that are still manning our venue to keep it safe while this important work is carried out."
H&F CAN is the volunteer community aid network launched by the council to support vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
Working with the voluntary and charity sector, and alongside the ward and street-level mutual aid groups, H&F CAN offers support to residents who may not have friends or family close by to help them.
So, if you need urgent support with food, loneliness or isolation, or you are you worried about a friend, neighbour or relative, get in touch.
Freephone: 0800 145 6095
9am-7pm Monday to Friday and 9am-2pm on weekends
April 9, 2020