Foodbank support amid cost of living crisis

Volunteering at the Hope Trust foodbank 

Volunteering at the Hope Trust foodbank - Credit: L&Q Housing

Housing staff have been volunteering at a foodbank in Barking to help tackle the growing cost of living crisis.

Staff at L&Q's Stratford head office helped prepare crates for delivery at the Hope Family Trust foodbank operating in Barking’s Elim Christian centre this month.

“We anticipate increased demand as food and fuel prices rise,” Hope Family Trust project manager Funmi Ikele predicted.

“So we are grateful for volunteers contributing their time and professional skills to help out.” 

The growing cost of living crisis has compelled the Barking and Dagenham Post to launch Your Money Matters - a campaign to help our readers access support in the coming months.

We're trying to find out the extent of the problem in your area. Please take our survey: 

Hope Family Trust project manager Funmi Ikele (left)

Hope Family Trust project manager Funmi Ikele (left) tells volunteers what help is needed - Credit: L&Q

Spending the day at the foodbank was part of L&Q’s community programme to encourage employees at their West Ham Lane offices to volunteer in the community.

Staff are given up to 21 hours volunteering a year, with 90 taking part in the past 12 months alone.  

Even housing bosses take part, like supervisor Alex Cooper who pitched in at the Barking foodbank in Axe Street.

L&Q housing supervisor Alex Cooper who pitched in at the Barking foodbank

L&Q housing supervisor Alex Cooper who pitched in at the Barking foodbank in Axe Street - Credit: L&Q

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Alex said: “The amount of organisation that goes into supplying food to those in need is much more than what you’d expect.  

“Hearing about the crisis on the radio is one thing, but my appreciation for those who work at foodbanks went through the roof when I was faced with what actually goes into their work.” 

The programme allows staff to try their hand at activities that differ from their daily office routines.  

The volunteering hours are used at a charity of their choice through the L&Q Foundation.

The foundation’s chief Matthew Corbett said: “We are helping those bearing the brunt of the biggest squeeze on living standards on record. But we couldn’t do this without staff volunteering to support people as a vocation rather than just a day job.”  

Projects have also been started by the foundation during the pandemic to get 300 people into employment, giving financial support for more than 500 families to secure their tenancies and running a money advice service to help people manage their debts.  

Volunteers have also been helping an education programme for careers activities in 30 schools involving 16,000 pupils in 11 London boroughs. 

Jenny Harvey-Hunter helping at Barking foodbank

Jenny Harvey-Hunter helping out at the Barking foodbank - Credit: L&Q