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‘A leading example’: Newham outlines its coronavirus response so far

PUBLISHED: 12:03 13 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:03 13 May 2020

Emergency food parcels being packed by Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, and a Newham hub volunteer. Picture: Andrew Baker/LBN

Emergency food parcels being packed by Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, and a Newham hub volunteer. Picture: Andrew Baker/LBN

© 2020 Andrew Baker studio@andrewbakerphotographer.com

A total of 17,000 food parcels have been delivered to older or “vulnerable” people by council staff and volunteers, the town hall reports.

Ms Fiaz said: Ms Fiaz said: "I have been incredibly moved and impressed by the work people are putting in to support those at risk." Picture: Andrew Baker/LBN

It follows Newham Council setting up eight hubs from which to send out food and essentials for those most in need as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz joined volunteers preparing the packages at the Curwen Primary School hub in Plaistow.

Ms Fiaz said: “The hubs are working with our schools, faith groups, youth workers, residents and businesses, who have all made incredibly generous donations.

“I have been incredibly moved and impressed by the work people are putting in to support those at risk.”

Each box contains fresh vegetables, fruit and for Ramadan there will be hundreds of kilos of dates distributed to people breaking their fast. There have also been more than 950 family sized boxes issued.

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The local authority reports its staff having spoken to more than 21,705 vulnerable residents to see how they are coping and to make sure people have adequate supplies.

The offer, dubbed #HelpNewham, has also seen, more than 5,000 prescriptions delivered, with the council working with 38 pharmacies to help people get their medicines.

Thousands of calls have been made to people who do not have any other support and have said they would like to have a friendly chat.

Beyond its hubs, the town hall reports working with voluntary and community groups to get more than 62 tonnes of surplus food out as part of Newham’s work with the London Food Alliance.

Rachel Ledwith, who runs FareShare London – a partner in the London Food Alliance - said: “Newham Council has set a leading example in how to turn surplus food that would otherwise go to waste, into a sustainable supply of food to people who need it.

“By investing in fridges and freezers and supporting the voluntary and community partners, the council has been focused on getting large volumes of surplus food into the borough. That work will leave a legacy beyond this crisis in tackling food poverty across Newham.”

The council has helped 20 voluntary and community organisations to accept foods with a fleet of redeployed vehicles brings about three tonnes of surplus food provided by the London Food Alliance into the borough each day.


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