West Hampstead Food Hub launches Christmas appeal as ‘the need is not going away’

Volunteers Pranay Hariharan, Pulin Tewari, and Reverend Hugh Thomas preparing food bags at Sidings Community Centre. Picture:...

Volunteers Pranay Hariharan, Pulin Tewari, and Reverend Hugh Thomas preparing food bags at Sidings Community Centre. Picture: Sinead Dalton - Credit: Archant

Ahead of what looks like being a difficult Christmas, the team behind the recently-rehomed West Hampstead Food Hub is hoping to persuade neighbours to help provide a gift for each of the 115 families the service supports.

Mutual Aid Group volunteer Janet Grauberg after a community call-out for donations of cereal at the West Hampstead Food Hub i...

Mutual Aid Group volunteer Janet Grauberg after a community call-out for donations of cereal at the West Hampstead Food Hub in November. Picture: Sinead Dalton - Credit: Archant

Sinead Dalton took over the co-ordinating of the hub and its food bank and delivery service about six weeks ago – having been a volunteer there beforehand – and she told the Ham&High she was desperate for support so the service could keep helping those in need.

She said: “We are doing our Christmas campaign because we really want to be able to include a gift along with the food parcels so that everyone gets to unwrap something this year.”

The food hub was launched from St Cuthbert’s Church at the pandemic’s outset in March and was a partnership between mutual aid groups in West Hampstead, Fortune Green and Kilburn wards – with help from the church and national charity FoodCycle.

In the autumn it moved to the Sidings Community Centre in Brassey Road, and new development worker Sinead came on board to help make the food hub sustainable. She added: “It’s amazing how everyone has come together to make this happen. Whether that’s been all the volunteers or the people receiving help themselves – and some of them also volunteer!

The Rev'd Hugh Thomas taking stock at the West Hampstead Food Hub. Picture: Sinead Dalton

The Rev'd Hugh Thomas taking stock at the West Hampstead Food Hub. Picture: Sinead Dalton - Credit: Archant


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“Unfortunately the need is not going away.”

St Cuthbert’s Church are still strongly supporting the hub, with the Rev’d Hugh Thomas adding: “The food hub shows ‘loving your neighbour’ in action for all... which is better than a thousand sermons for me.”

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The food hub is giving away the presents for families on December 12, so “light gifts” should be left at one of the hub’s drop-off points in West Hampstead by December 11.

The drop-off locations are the Little Waitrose in West End Lane whenever it is open and Paramount Properties in the same road Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm. Donations can also go to Emmanuel Church in Lyncroft Gardens on Thursdays between 10am and 12 and 5.30 and 7.3pm, and the Sidings Community Centre on Fridays between 6 and 7pm.

Sinead emphasised the Food Hub’s need for financial support to keep going. Donations can be made at justgiving.com/campaign/whcfh where there are also instructions on how to set up a direct debit.

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