Hammersmith & Fulham Council is partnering with the Olympia London exhibition centre to expand food support for local residents in need during the coronavirus crisis.
It means that the council’s army of H&F CAN volunteers will now join forces with the Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank to increase the number of food parcels sent out to residents in need – by at least 400 per cent.
H&F asked the owners of Olympia London for help this week to vastly expand the urgent H&F CAN and Foodbank effort. As a result, Olympia kindly offered their Olympia National building – the sister hall of the iconic Olympia Grand – free of charge to the council.
Food deliveries will be done by private vehicles with DBS-registered volunteers, taxi cabs, H&F Council staff and people donating their time.
“Working with Olympia London, the Foodbank and our amazing army of CAN volunteers, we want everyone to know we are on their side through this national emergency,” said Cllr Sue Fennimore. “Together, we are determined to support those most in need – at the time of their greatest need.”
While Nigel Nathan, Managing Director of Olympia London, said: “In these difficult times, we’re delighted to be able to play our small part by offering Olympia London to Hammersmith & Fulham Council and the Foodbank while they provide vital help to thousands of people that need it most in our local community. Their teams are doing a heroic job. And I’m also so grateful to our few staff that are still manning our venue to keep it safe while this important work is carried out.”
Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank founder Daphine Aikens says the response to helping battle food poverty during the pandemic crisis has been incredible.
Daphine says that a dramatic scaling-up of foodbank parcel deliveries is now possible, thanks to H&F Council’s agreement with Olympia London.
“It has let us set up a production line here to increase the help we can offer,” she said.
Instead of being able to supply around 160 food parcels a week to the most vulnerable, the reach of the service will hugely increase.
“We’ll be able to do 800 parcels a week, even 1,000 a week,” she said. “We simply can’t do that at the moment with our existing space restrictions.”
Daphine, who set up the foodbank 10 years ago and was recently awarded an MBE for her work, added: “By using the Olympia National building, we can upscale and move to a full delivery service to help anyone without the money for food.
“It’s a massive increase in what we can achieve. We’re able to do it because we have our own committed and trained volunteers, together with H&F Council staff and other local volunteers.
“The response we’ve had in the last week or two of the coronavirus has been incredible; this community has been incredible, and we’re so grateful to everyone.”
The Foodbank centres in Fulham, West Kensington and White City will remain open for the next two weeks as the large-scale distribution centre at Olympia London becomes fully operational.
A list of the most urgently needed food items, and points where they can be donated is available on the H&F Foodbank website.