Since mid-March, we have been helping a number of residents in need with shopping and household errands, regularly checking in with them and providing food donations to those in need. We have supported and benefited from the Gift Your Neighbour scheme, which continues to help families in Brondesbury and Queen’s Park, Kensal Rise and beyond.

Two months worth of donations were raised through our own Open Collective Account, in order to cover bi-weekly meal orders from Daksha’s Community Response Kitchen, Bread ’n Butter, Ariana II, and Yum Yum Kitchen, as well as small expenses such as phone credits. Together with the generous offer of a free jar of honey for every £10 given, donated by our local beekeeper and volunteer Peter William’s own ‘Lockdown Honey’. We also owe huge gratitude to the incredible generosity of local paella chef Nick Friedman, who donated a meal to MA Brondesbury Park for every ten sold during his long spell of “Paella Thursdays” on Mowbray Road.

Even though the second week of July has seen our cooked food deliveries to Brondesbury Park residents come to an end, many of whom were elderly and shielding, some of our 12 mini groups are still quite active. As well as a comms volunteer, an admin, and a team of drivers - including one driver making regular deliveries to the Granville. Our little army of volunteers has been put to the test amidst thousands of whatsapp messages.

Sadly, for some families, the situation is still dire and we have had to refer them to other free food schemes. Others felt that they could manage without the deliveries for the time being, although it has been evident that these meal deliveries have had a positive nutritional as well as social impact.

As a result, and following on from discussions about which charities Mutual Aid could partner up with, we are currently building a relationship with the charity Elders Voice in Kensal Green with the aim to extend Brent Mutual Aid efforts into their framework. There are also discussions about creating a low cost, nutritious “Meals on Wheels” provision throughout Brent, facilitated by Mutual Aid. This is all dependent on funding and several options are being explored.

A few of the impressions from these last few, very memorable months.

Cosima Shaw


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