Providing meals for those in need in Woolwich

15 March 2021

Woolwich Common Community Centre supports a wide range of people in the local area, including a variety of community groups. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the team has provided food to those in need by cooking and distributing individual frozen meals using items provided by FareShare.

Woolwich Common Community Centre supports individuals and families that can access the frozen meals throughout the week. Through the centre, community groups such as Greenwich Migrant Hub and a local domestic violence service, have been able to provide meals to those they support.

The organisation also recently received food from Tesco as part of the retailers commitment to delivering an additional four million meals to FareShare this winter. The donations were delivered to Woolwich Common Community Centre via The Felix Project Deptford, part of the FareShare network and used in the meals they provide the people they support.

Jane Downes, Centre Manager at Woolwich Common Community Centre, said: “What we discovered in the first lockdown was that a lot of people didn’t have access to cooking facilities, maybe only a microwave – people such as children coming out of care, the elderly who don’t really like to cook because they’re on their own. Supporting people coming out of hospital.

“We couldn’t do it without FareShare – there would be a cost implication and our programme is not funded. The food we get enables us to help so many people.

“We always keep a food store cupboard here – we’re in the middle of a housing estate so if people are desperate they can come in and we can provide them with some items to see them through a few days. So many people are struggling, not just due to Covid – we’re in one of the most deprived areas within the borough.

“We get so many people thanking us – we’ve had cakes made for us, numerous cards from people that have been desperate for food, and we’ve been able to help them because of FareShare.

“FareShare is always amazing during Christmas time and supply us with loads of food which we can pack up into food parcels for people to take away with them. Normally, we would run a homeless event before Christmas and open on Christmas day but we’re not doing that this year.

“Instead, we opened on Christmas day and provided a full Christmas dinner aimed at single residents on their own who wouldn’t normally have a Christmas dinner. We’re Covid secure to host up to 30 people so, we cooked for 30 people inside but also provided Christmas lunches for people to collect. We encouraged single people to come in and join us for the meal, so they were not on their own all day, and the take away lunches were be available for any families that are struggling.

“We have a couple of chefs and you can give them a bunch of random ingredients and they can knock out something amazing with the food we get from FareShare – but that’s not necessarily something that everyone is able to do.

“For instance, we once received celeriac but a lot of people don’t know what it is. If we get something that’s a bit unusual, I will find a recipe on the internet and print it off to put in the packs – ideas like making celeriac mash or adding it to a stew – to help people along.

“We’re so thankful for FareShare, it’s one of the most amazing projects to get started – for people like ourselves we’re able to help so many people because of the food we get which we just wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.”