Coronavirus Service Update – September 9th 2020
The pandemic continues to devastate countless lives across the world, pushing at least half a billion more people into extreme poverty in developing countries.
Here in the UK, communities have rallied together like never before to support those in need of food and other essentials. Whilst we seem to be over the first deadly bout of Covid-19, we are bracing ourselves for a second wave in the months ahead. But it’s the economic crisis that worries us most – soaring unemployment will mean more than a million more Britons living in poverty by Christmas.
The impact on Sufra has already been immense: We have had to transform all our services and we are still far busier than ever before. The situation remains volatile and unpredictable, and we are expecting a tsunami of people in urgent need of support when the furlough scheme ends next month.
Over 50,000 people in Brent have been furloughed – more than most other parts of the UK. Estimates vary, but we can expect at least 25% of these workers to lose their jobs – and far more in the borough’s large catering and hospitality sector. We could see unemployment reach 18% – the second highest rate in the UK.
How will community food banks in Brent possibly cope? There simply isn’t enough capacity across the Brent Food Aid Network to meet that level of additional demand.
Poverty is not inevitable or accidental – it is a consequence of policies that are in urgent need of reform. Access to nutritious food is a basic human right for all people. After years of austerity, the government must do more to prevent a further increase poverty and hunger.
Sufra, alongside others, will continue to do what we can to support those in need, but we can’t do it without your help. Most importantly, we need volunteers…
Volunteers Urgently Needed
Do you have a few spare hours to volunteer and help us support vulnerable people in need?
We have many unusual volunteering opportunities available and full training is provided for all of these roles – no previous experience is required. For more information about the roles, please see our volunteering page here, where you will also find this Google Form for signing up.
How Else Can You Help?
If you would like to donate essential food and toiletries on our list, please simply drop them off outside our main building in the clearly marked bins. We are especially in need of pasta, oil, and baby formula and encourage restaurants and organisations to donate any surplus stock (but not cooked food, as we are cooking this fresh every day at Sufra).
Alternatively, you can support us financially by donating via this link.
There have been some exciting developments at Sufra in recent weeks, including establishing a a new Food Bank Hub in partnership with Mutual Aid Food Willesden and the Pakistan Community Centre (PCC), so that we can continue the excellent work that they have been doing supporting local residents in need.
Meanwhile, the Food Bank has resumed a collection service twice a week, although we are still delivering half of our food parcels. We have also re-activated some of our garden courses and activities and are recruiting for our new Forest Academy Course for young people – see below for more details.
Food Bank: We are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when guests can collect food parcels between 11-3pm. Collections are now also available from the new hub at the PCC on Tuesdays. Guests will still need a referral for a voucher to access the Food Bank. Our updated list of referral agencies can be found here and the contact number for vouchers and related queries is 020 8937 5796, option 3.
Community Kitchen: We are continuing to cook hot meals to deliver to those without cooking facilities as well as the elderly and isolated. Our Community Kitchen is still closed to the public.
Advice Services and Refugee Support: Both of these services are fully functional but operating remotely.
NHS Emergency Food Aid Service: Operating as normal – please contact Nina@sufra-nwlondon.org.uk if you are registered for the service and require Food Packs for patients.
Community Garden: we have now resumed our weekly (socially distanced) growing club as well as our AQA accredited Chicken Club course, which teaches participants how to care for chickens. We are also recruiting for our Forest Academy – another free course that teaches young people fun survival and collaboration skills in a natural, outdoor environment. For more details, please click here.