Around Ealing February/March 2019 - Page 11

FOODBANKS   Janet Fletcher in the foodbank warehouse It relies not only on volunteers’ hard work, but also on donations of food. This is particularly the case in February, when it traditionally has a shortage of stock. You can find out how, and what, to donate at; and also how to volunteer. ‘MANY ARE FACING EVICTION FROM THEIR HOMES’ Adrienne Khan is a caseworker and crisis navigator from West London Equality Centre (WLEC). She is part of the Help Through Crisis service provided by a partnership of WLEC, Ealing Law Centre, Ealing Community and Volunteering Service and Ealing MIND, supporting people at the foodbanks. It is paid for through the Big Lottery Fund. She said most people found themselves needing the foodbank through financial crises. “It is often because they have fallen into arrears with their rent because of the benefit cap and Universal Credit payment delays,” said Adrienne. “And many are facing eviction from their homes. “People can come here multiple times in the year but not more than once a week, so they can get food for about three days in each week. We then direct those people who need it to the local soup kitchens so they can have something hot to eat on other days of the week, but also to help avoid isolation. So often now, even people with children are going to soup kitchens; and it’s not just the homeless – people who are in jobs but are struggling to pay for much more than their rent go there too.” ‘I WAS THE LOWEST I HAD EVER BEEN. IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYBODY’ Karen is a volunteer peer mentor working with WLEC alongside Adrienne, who has been through what other foodbank clients have been through. Her comfortable life suddenly changed and she found herself alone as a single mother looking after her son – and was then evicted from her home and the council had to find temporary accommodation for her. Karen said: “I was the lowest I had ever been. I was going through a divorce as well. “I had already volunteered at the foodbank in the past but now I was on the other side of the fence and needing to use it. And it shows it can happen to anybody. “You’re made welcome here and are not judged. It is so important, especially from a mental aspect. It is easy to become isolated but the foodbank is a refuge. It becomes a hub for you – and it allows you to Janet with Karen, a volunteer peer mentor, at the Hanwell centre in St Mellitus Church rediscover your confidence in other people, and to understand there is nothing to be ashamed of. These are barriers that need to be broken.” MORE INFO n Read the full story about our visit to the foodbank’s Hanwell centre at features/foodbank – where you can also find a list of local soup kitchens n You can go to the ‘give help’ section of the foodbank’s website to register to volunteer – and you can also find out how to make donations that way, or email n To find out more about how the council’s local welfare assistance team might be able to help you, go to the ‘health and adult social care’ section of the council website or call 020 8825 6237. around ealing    February 2019 11