Ealing/ Acton Food Bank (by Dean Ives)
Ealing Food Bank is a registered charity and part of the Trussell Trust network of food banks, currently with 428 sites across the UK. Each is run much in the same method and with much the same objective: to provide food and advice to those in crisis.
Since opened in 2013 it has delivered over 91.6 tonnes of food to 8,500 people enough to provide three meals for each of three days and 4130 emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis last year.The Ealing initiative began with a group of local churches collaborating with the same vision. After some years and seeing a growing need in the borough, they started the charity. Volunteers are very important to the success of EFB.
There were initially around forty to fifty churches interested in Ealing alone, and nine were recruited to get the charity off the ground. Today EFB have 150 active volunteers and joining the Trussell Trust gave the initiative the necessary structure and support network
The Food Bank offers both food and advice. As well as “food sufficient for three meals for three days”, visitors may also learn about drop-in centres, welfare advice, language courses and other various support groups. They also work with a Big Lottery Fund program called Help Through Crisis, which, depending upon personal circumstance, provide a 10-week program of support, advice and useful life skills in communication, building a CV and engaging effectively with society.
According to criteria, a ‘food crisis’ is defined as ‘no food in the cupboards, no money to buy food’ (even if there is a coming pay cheque), and their top criteria is ‘low income’ peoples. That means people can still be earning, but should their salary be insufficient to afford anything more than, say, a place to live, they can still get food.
All food is donated, and comes from a variety of sources including schools, various businesses and churches, and collection points can be found at several superstores including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. Tesco also top-up a kilogram of food by 20% in cash and they will allow the charity to be a physical presence in store, on occasion.
Over the last two years they have had an average of 8 tonnes of food per six-week period, which does present storage issues They request non-perishables (six-month minimum shelf life) to manage this for the short term.Volunteers sort food to check that it is in date and pack it into boxes ready to be given to people in need.
The Foodbank partners with a wide range of care professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and police to identify people in crisis and issue them with a foodbank voucher. Foodbank clients bring their voucher to a foodbank centre where it can be redeemed for three days emergency food. Volunteers meet clients over a warm drink or free hot meal and are able to signpost people to agencies able to solve the longer-term problem. Clients can visit up to six cafes around the borough, including Acton, Hanwell, Greenford, Northolt and Southall. The charity provide other amenities such as tea bags, toilet rolls and household items as well as toiletries, providing a decent basic quality of life for people.
The address of the local foodbank is St Millitus Hall, 1 Church RdHanwell, London W7 3BB
Who are the West London Citizens?
West London Citizens brings together people from diverse communities across west London to take action on issues affecting all.The Community Organiser for West London Citizens, Marzena Cichon, came to speak to the J&P group on Wed 5th Oct 2011 about what the Citizens have achieved for Ealing and the tactics they employ. The 4 initiatives within the Ealing area are:
1. Ealing is now one out of 10 London councils who have signed up to the Citizens' Living Wage Campaign - replacing the minimum wage of £6.08 with a living wage of £8.30 per hour.
2. Hholding talks with GP consortia to introduce a Code of Conduct for health professionals and creating patient participation groups to work with individual GP surgeries.
3. CitySafe for Ealing: building links with the local community to create CitySafe Havens and create places of refuge for young people in immediate danger.
4.Hanwell's Green Man Campaign: faciliating the creation of a crossing for a local school.
More info about the Citizens here.
Info: Homeless in Ealing
Sleeping rough brings with it a network of complications, from life-threatening health conditions to loss of self-worth and aspiration. Isolation and fear often mean that rough sleepers find it difficult to trust other people, and the longer they remain on the street, the more excluded they become from society. Sleeping rough is harmful and dangerous. No one should have to sleep rough in the UK in the 21st century. The Mayor of London's London Delivery Board, is a strategic partnership set up to end street homelessness in the capital by the end of 2012.
Shelter & Help:
Downloadthe list of food & shelter provisions for in the Ealing area, including free meals, social activities, health care and shelter. It is also available on the J&P noticeboard.
Emmaus Acton Homeless Concern (0208 992 5768) for comprehensive daytime support. St Mungo's run 2 Emergency Shelters (020 7112 1590) and Street Outreach teams - (contact by email); Ealing Churches Night Shelter operates Nov-April (0208 578 2796)
Emmaus Homeles Concern Lunch 1 Berrymead Gdns, Acton, Lunch Mon-Fri 11:45-1:50pm,
Damien Centre, 3-5 Church Rd, Acton Sandwiches, Tea/ coffee 10:30am-8pm (closed 12-2pm))
Mattlock Lane, Ealing Soup Kitchen Lunch Sat & Sun 3:30-5pm, light refreshments Thurs & Fri 11-3pm
Upper Room, St Saviour's Church, Wendell Park, Cobbold Rd W12, evening meal Mon-Fri 5:30-6:45pm
Hanwell Homeless Concern free lunches:
Mon - St Thomas Church, Boston Road W7 12-1:30pm
Wed - St Joseph's Church, Uxbridge Rd W7 11am- 1pm
Fri - Hanwell Methodist Church, Church Rd W7 12:30-2pm.
DId you know? Ealing has a wonderful resource in this community effort to help people become greener. They regularly have film showings on a variety of ecological issues, and a wealth of information and advice. They can help you insulate your home, buy "shares" in a bee-hive, find locally sourced produce, & offer advice on where best to keep your money/ buy your energy from. As well as a programme of local nature walks.
"The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing but their own poverty". Pope Francis, March 2013
Caritas Westminster, the Diocesian social action agency was launched only as recently as 2011 and it is slowly coming into its own, as we heard in a talk given by its director, John Coleby in the Abbey Hall on 10th November 2014.
It will function mostly as an umbrella organisation, identifying and supporting parish-based projects that address poverty and exclusion in our community. Organisations that are currently supported by Caritas Westminster include St. Joseph's Pastoral Centre, the Westminster Deaf Service and the Cardinal Hume Centre.
Through collaborating with established national charities and other diocesan Catholic agencies, Caritas Westminster aims to embrace and promote effective social action firmly rooted in the teachings of our Church.
What this means for local parishes, is that Justice and Peace Groups, SVP groups and other initiatives inteded to support the common good, will be able to call on the expertise represented by Caritas and through them, obtain the relevant support to make delivery of their own projects sustainable and effective. One example is the setting up of Foodbanks, where Caritas can advise whether there is a local need, and if so, whether working with the Trussell Trust network of foodbanks, or setting up an independent foodbank would be the best way forward. At Ealing Abbey, we set up the foodbank as part of the Trussell Trust initiative, but at Borehamwood, Caritas Westminster facilitated the creation of an independent initiative across two parishes.
At the moment, there is a lot of good work being done across the Diocese, which is not co-ordinated on any wider scale. This applies particularly to the issue of Human Trafficking. The Catholic Community is very well placed to identify victims and offer support, and it already does so, via some congregations of dedicated religious women. By working with the Metropolitan police and other agencies, Caritas Westminster would be able to extend the effectiveness of this work on a significant scale.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org