Highgate Newtown Community Centre: Call for locals to do a ‘reverse advent calendar’ to help the hungry

Highgate Newtown Community Centre Covid response has supported Camden residents during the pandemic.

Highgate Newtown Community Centre Covid response has supported Camden residents during the pandemic. - Credit: Archant

With the second lockdown putting more pressure on struggling families, the Highgate Newtown Community Centre (HNCC) is hoping a “reverse advent” campaign will help to support those in need as a tough winter continues.

Picture: Highgate Newtown Community Centre

Picture: Highgate Newtown Community Centre - Credit: Archant

HNCC is calling on supporters to put aside a vital, non-perishable food or household item every day between December 1 and December 24, and by doing so create a hamper they can drop off at its food bank just after Christmas in order to help cash-strapped families through a worrying January.

READ MORE: Highgate Newtown Community Centre launches winter fundraising appealSuggested items include dried pasta, soap and tinned goods. Best before dates should last until at least January 20.

Mags O’Reilly, HNCC’s operations manager, said: “The Christmas period is going to a real trial for many, but I think another big trial will be January. It’s a time when lots of people won’t have money, lots of people who normally give to us will find it hard and won’t have as much spare cash. That’s why we felt the reverse advent scheme was a great idea.”

Come Christmas itself, HNCC is running a Seven Days of Christmas campaign with a number of socially distanced events including film showings and a socially-distanced bingo game taking place every afternoon from Christmas Day until New Year’s Eve.

Andrew Sanalitro, director of Highgate Newtown Community Centre

Andrew Sanalitro, director of Highgate Newtown Community Centre - Credit: Archant

Due to the pandemic, anyone interested in attending these events needs to book beforehand. HNCC’s main phone number is 020 7272 7201.


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Mags explained that HNCC is also going to be running a Boxing Day donation drive, and called on people to send any unwanted Christmas presents in her direction.

“Often on Boxing Day lots of people go out for a walk. We thought that if anyone got things they didn’t need people could drop them in. We’re hoping to have some nice things for a raffle.”

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Reverse advent hampers can be dropped at the food bank at HNCC’s base at the Whittington Estate on Christmas Eve or at St Mary Brookfield Church on any of afternoons that follow, between 2 and 5pm.

Over Christmas the food bank service will operate differently, with volunteers able to provide emergency food parcels on request.

For more details of HNCC’s winter fundraising see highgatenewtown.org.uk

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