20,000 hot meals and 2,000 shopping trips mark a year of our community hubs
On 23 March 2020, one year ago, at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic and first national lockdown, THH realised the need to act urgently and set up three community hubs. With our partners, Darul Ummah, St Hilda’s and Neighbours in Poplar, the aim was to support elderly and vulnerable residents with the provision of hot meals, food parcels, picking up shopping and medication and emergency home visits.
The first hub at Neighbours in Poplar was up and running on 23 March, with the remaining two hubs opening soon after. The support has been essential to elderly and vulnerable residents as some had to self-isolate due to health conditions and vulnerabilities, with little or no other local family support available. The hubs, located strategically to serve each of the Tower Hamlets postcode areas, are made up of volunteers offering their time, services, and dedication day in and day out to serve their local community.
Tackling social isolation
The hubs, plus East London Cares, have also tackled social isolation by checking in on residents by phone or face to face to ensure that they have someone to talk to. East London Cares has also been offering an intergenerational befriending service, where young people are paired with older or more vulnerable residents.
What the hubs have achieved
Over the last year, our hubs have provided:
- Over 20,000 hot meals
- Over 4,000 food parcels delivered to residents
- Over 2,000 shopping trips made
- Over 10,000 befriending and welfare check-in calls
- 200 medication drop-offs
- 100 emergency home visits
Khoyrul Shaheed, Darul Ummah Hub Coordinator, said:
“When the lockdown happened, we were thinking what can we do for the community? It is our commitment and duty to serve our community. We were pleased to partner with THH as they not only provided financial support but signposted us to access other funding. They also referred residents needing help after they called and checked in with all their elderly residents.”
Susmita Sen, Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Homes, said:
“I want to take this opportunity to thank St Hilda’s, Neighbours in Poplar, Darul Ummah, East London Cares, London Borough of Tower Hamlets and of course all our volunteers that were instrumental in setting up our community hubs”.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, added:
“We must keep working together to keep this virus at bay. People in Tower Hamlets have really come together to support one another, and by working together through volunteering, charity work, food donations and befriending, everyone has pulled together and helped make this a better and stronger Tower Hamlets. We have looked after each other, and I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone that has helped.”
Financial Health Centre
As well as our community hubs and volunteers, THH staff have also adapted their roles to be able to help and have contacted over 2000 vulnerable residents to offer support. Based on the outcomes of the calls, THH has provided them with support through signposting and referring to the local hubs and the Financial Health Centre.
Our Financial Health Centre (FHC) was quickly modified to be available to all Tower Hamlets residents from day one of the lockdown. The FHC has been running via a telephone, email and online service to offer advice and support to hundreds of residents. In the past year the FHC has supported:
- Around 1,000 residents
- Consolidated over £700,000 debt
- Over £350,000 benefit claims made
Sister Christine Frost MBE- Neighbours in Poplar Hub Coordinator said:
“Let’s come together. Let’s take care of each other”.
THH would like to thank all of our amazing volunteers at the community hubs for their continued support. We would also like to thank all of our Financial Health Centre partners for continuing to provide remote services to our residents.
If you would like to become a volunteer at one of our hubs and give back to your community contact us at email@example.com
For more information about the East London Cares befriending project, visit their website here