Coronavirus in north London: Street art competition helps fund Hampstead curry house’s meals for the NHS

NHS tributes on the Hocrofts Estate. Picture: Hocrofts Estate

NHS tributes on the Hocrofts Estate. Picture: Hocrofts Estate - Credit: Archant

Street art in support of our NHS in West Hampstead has helped to entertain children during the lockdown and also, more importantly, help an NW3 Indian restaurant’s attempts to feed NHS staff.

The community on the Hocrofts estate ran a competition over the Easter holidays, and encouraged donations from residents to a fund which has been given to the Paradise Hampstead restaurant in South End Road – which has been using the cash to send food to local hospitals including the Royal Free and the Whittington.

A spokesperson for the community in the Hocrofts told this newspaper: “The aim was to try and find something which entertainted the kids and which could contribute to the NHS.

“It’s nice to have control of where you’re donating and my family have always known Wasel at Paradise very well.

“It just seemed a good thing to do.”

The families in the estate want to spur on other communities in Camden and beyond to join in with street art paying tribute to the NHS.

Meanwhile Wasel Ali at Paradise Hampstead – which has been run by the same family for more than half a century, explained what he and his staff had been putting together for local NHS workers.

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He said: “We have been here 51 years and often support the Royal Free in different ways. When Covid 19 hit we wanted to look to how we could help but didn’t know quite what to do.

Wasel added: “While doing this a lot of our customers started saying ‘is there any way I can buy a meal for the hospital?’.”

Wasel’s father Shahid opened the restaurant 51 years ago. He said a plan had come together when one of his customers, and NHS dentist called Sara, had said she was working to recruit restaurants to the cause.

So far, the money raised will feed NHS staff two nights a week for “the next few months”.

Wasel said: “We’ll follow it through effectively until things start to get better. We’re only doing the simple things that people will like and that are easy to eat when someone’s on a busy shift.”

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