Greenhouse Sports: Westminster charity sports centre transforms into food bank to feed Church Street families
- Credit: Ben Stevens
A Westminster sports centre has become a food bank as it launches a partnership with the North Paddington Food Bank to help feed families in the Church Street area.
Greenhouse Sports is a charity based a few minutes south of Church Street in Marylebone which offers free sports coaching and mentoring to disadvantaged children.
Last week the charity re-opened its centre to help provide deliveries of food to those living in the Church Street council ward – which is ne of the 10 per cent most deprived in the country.
Due to the Coronavirus-enforced lockdown, the centre had been unused and the charity wanted to explore ways to make the most effective use of its premises.
Greenhouse Sports’ chief exec Béatrice Butsana-Sita said: “Helping young people and our community is at the heart of what we do, so it was a no-brainer to turn our sports centre into a food bank during the coronavirus crisis.”
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“We contacted the North Paddington Food Bank with our offer and focused on the changes needed to set up the Greenhouse Centre as a Food Bank.
“It is a stark reality that many Londoners require food banks even at the best of times. The impact of the Coronavirus has meant that with many people out of work, their ability to provide for their families has been reduced.
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“As a charity that already supports some of London’s most disadvantaged, we felt it was important for us to do what we can in this time of acute need.”
The sports coaches at the charity have also been doing their bit to keep young people who usually use the centre both physically and mentally healthy during lockdown.
The centre is running a #HomeCoach initiative to ensure that children are still getting the support they need – which has included coaches conducting video fitness sessions,
The charity has been backed by sports stars including England netballer Ama Agbeze, and former British tennis number one Greg Rusedski.
The charity’s coaching director Jason Sugrue said: “We quickly realised that we weren’t going to be able to see or speak directly to our young people for a long time, so we immediately began working on innovative ways to continue supporting them.”