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‘We’ve never seen anything like this’: Gospel Oak charity sets up emergency coronavirus help centre

PUBLISHED: 13:18 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:27 23 March 2020

Queen's Crescent Community Association regulars Peggy Crowley, 90 (right), and Connie Hayter, 89. Picture: Queen's Crescent Community Association

Queen's Crescent Community Association regulars Peggy Crowley, 90 (right), and Connie Hayter, 89. Picture: Queen's Crescent Community Association

Queen's Crescent Community Association

A Gospel Oak charity set up an emergency help centre on Monday (March 23) in response to coronavirus as its chief executive said: “we’ve never seen anything like this”.

The emergency help centre will house a food bank and a phone-in service for the elderly. Picture: Queen's Crescent Community AssociationThe emergency help centre will house a food bank and a phone-in service for the elderly. Picture: Queen's Crescent Community Association

Queen’s Crescent Community Centre (QCCA) in Ashdown Crescent has launched Fight C-19 - a pop-up facility which will provide a food bank, shopping and medication provision, and a telephone befriending service for the elderly.

The centre will also offer dog walking and online exercise classes and has called for local volunteers to join the relief effort.

QCCA CEO Foyezur Miah said: “QCCA has worked in the same building in Queen’s Crescent for over twenty years and we’ve never seen anything like this. People are scared.

“The coronavirus is frightening for everyone but it’s especially frightening if you live hand to mouth each week and don’t have the money to stockpile food or if you’re too old to fight for the last loaf of bread on the shelf.

“The good news is that we know that there are lots of people in Gospel Oak and Hampstead looking for ways to make a difference and we’d love them to contact us.

“We want them to help us to make sure that no-one goes hungry or feels scared and alone.”

As a frontline service, QCCA will will remain open remotely and have scheduled opening times for people to collect household staples - even if the capital goes into complete lockdown.

QCCA regulars Peggy Crowley, 90, and Connie Hayter, 89, praised the centre’s call-in service which they said will help tackle loneliness.

Connie, who has six children, said “I’m one of the lucky ones because I’ve got family quite close by but even I would use it.

“If you’ve got worries, sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone you don’t know. It will help people who feel isolated.”

Fight C-19 will run for three months with the project aiming to raise £20,000 and bring in 50 new volunteers.

According to the Department of Communities and Local Government, Queen’s Crescent falls within the top ten per cent of the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods.

To donate or volunteer with QCCA, call 020 7267 6635, email info@qcca.org.uk or visit www.qcca.org.uk/covidresponse

For the latest coronavirus news from the Ham&High and across north London visit our live blog and join our Facebook group.

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