Community Aid - Bowes Park & Bounds Green Come Together 

At a time when hunger in the capital has increased and people have been struggling to make ends meet, the Bounds Green Food Bank continues to regularly help the local community.  At the start of lockdown Bowes Park Community Association worked with Bounds Green Mutual Aid, and other local residents’ groups, to make sure those isolated and unable to leave their homes had the support they needed. As lockdown eased they realised that for many people access to food was worse than before.  With the help of a Haringey Giving grant of £5,000, the food bank was set up and has become a solid example of a community coming together and continuing to meet the demand. 

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Bounds Green Food Bank banner with opening times at the entrance to the Food Bank

We spoke to Mary Mason from Bowes Park Community Association 

Hi Mary, how has the Haringey Giving grant been used?

The money initially helped those isolated and at home with supporting volunteers, PPE and networking as well as those who had no mobile access or electricity. It then helped us to set up the Food Bank. As soon as we opened, people were queuing up as they either had no recourse to public funds, were waiting for Universal Credit or there simply was not enough money to cover bills and food.  About 60-70 households came every day - and some with four to seven members in a family. Many families with furloughed parents and many people who didn’t have the finances or resources to pay the bills. 

How did you reach people?

Bowes Park Community Association together with other volunteers responded quickly and recognised there were other needs too. We wanted to make sure everyone had access to practical and emotional support through a network of local groups.

'There were many people who were totally isolated at home and couldn’t do their shopping – and those suffering from mental distress due to isolation.'

Mary Mason, Bowes Park Community Association

Covering every street in Bounds Green, a group of 150 volunteers leafleted every household.  Helplines were set up for people in need to call. A listening ear was there to help those feeling isolated and lonely. These calls were referred to experienced counsellors if needed to help those in distress. We also set up a service collecting prescriptions and delivering food parcels. 

Now a few months on, what’s the current situation?

The Food Bank is still welcoming guests, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 2pm to 4pm.  We continue to deliver food parcels to 15 households where people are still shielding. 
Our other priorities also include identifying people who are in need of laptops or those without Wi-Fi.  We are also trying to help people connect with local services and support and access to PPE too. 

Some of your volunteers have been on TV and radio recently, where can we see this?

Volunteer Shift Coordinator, Anthy and Ishraq from the Food Co-ordinating Team were interviewed by BBC London Radio for Drive-time with Eddie Nestor. The food bank was also visited by Sky News:

Bounds Green Food Bank on Sky New 31 July 2020

Sky News visited Bounds Green Food Bank to hear from people in our area who depend on our Food Bank. The purpose of the report was to highlight the deficiencies of the Universal Credit system.

Posted by Bounds Green Food Bank on Friday, 31 July 2020

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