| 23 April 2020
Summary: Metropolitan Thames Valley (MTVH) has taken the lead in co-ordinating community efforts to support our most at-risk residents in Hackney and Tower Hamlets during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Working with fellow colleagues, Regional Community Co-ordinator Saiful Alam identified all possible organisations in the area which could pool their resources and partner with MTVH to help residents.
“This meant going to existing contacts as well as seeking out new relationships with local authorities, the voluntary sector, local businesses and councillors who directed us to providers. These included organisations in the local social sector, mutual aid groups, as well as faith-based organisations and we harnessed the goodwill that is in abundance in these unprecedented times,” explained Saiful.
Jahanara Rajkoomar, Director of Community Investment at MTVH, said: “Supporting at-risk residents is a top priority for us. In these circumstances, it was logical to bring together the resources of our internal and external partners and I’m very proud to say the team has done a sterling job to ensure we streamline our endeavours to support our most at-risk residents.”
Essential items, including fruit and vegetables, cooking oil, nappies, cereal, toiletries, tissues and more, were delivered to residents’ doors. Vital medication was also dropped off.
Housing Services Officer Marissa Kirby said: “It has been particularly impressive to witness such a rapid response by collaborating with other agencies to support residents with complex needs arising from depression, anxiety, disabilities, being former victims of domestic abuse or receiving end of life care.”
Josephine Oriakhi, Care and Support Team Leader said: “Our customers didn’t expect this kind of help and were so surprised to have received these items. They can’t stop talking about it. One resident in particular, was over the moon to get his favourite cereal!”
Residents themselves have sent heartfelt messages of gratitude.
One said: “It was by accident that we ended up speaking of my current situation – of being a single parent to a two-year old child during this pandemic. When Saiful called me to discuss my needs, I didn’t know what to ask for, or what to believe, because I‘d never been to a food bank or asked for help in this way.
“The delivery came late in the evening and I was so happy, surprised and emotional to see that all our needs would be met. I could feed my daughter and myself without the worry of going out.”
Saiful says: “We are working with more referrals and currently co-ordinating efforts to dispatch more essential items to customers. This will continue in the days and weeks to come. With our network of providers on board, and with co-ordination efforts led by MTVH, this has worked well and we plan to continue reaching out to people this way.”
Photograph: Jahanara Rajkoomar, Director of Community Investment at MTVH