Charities join forces to feed thousands this Christmas

This Christmas a group of charities will come together with London locals and businesses to support communities following one of the most challenging years in living memory.

The Kensington and Chelsea Christmas Collective is a group of front-line charities, local volunteers and businesses that have joined forces to ensure that Christmas isn’t cancelled for vulnerable London residents. The charities involved include Age UK, the NHS Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service, mental health charity SMART, The Dalgarno Trust, Dads House and Venture Community Association.

The Christmas Collective will be targeting its support to families on free school meals, elderly people, vulnerable adults and the homeless with two core initiatives:

  1. Christmas in a Box: Prepared meals, grocery items and Christmas gifts will be delivered to the doors of those in need, following social distancing guidelines. Items will be sourced from providers including Waitrose and Partners, Furloughed Foodies and the Restaurant Association.
  2. Christmas Entertainment: A programme of travelling local choirs and activities will visit various areas of the Borough and perform in outdoor spaces following social distancing guidelines

The Christmas Collective aims to deliver 4000 boxes to those in need this Christmas and to raise a total of £130,000 for this winter’s initiatives and ongoing support in 2021, accessible via the online fundraising platform.

Amelia Mustapha, Director of SMART, says: “The Christmas Collective is hoping to bring back the true spirit of Christmas at a really critical time. Our aim is to make sure everyone has a warm heart from the opportunity to give or receive and a full tummy. We will provide a festive meal and gifts, information about support available and tokens of the love we have for each other. The travelling choir and our other activities like the outdoor cinemas will bring joy to the streets in a COVID-friendly way.

Tim Downie (actor) says: ‘I am incredibly proud of my community who are always so extraordinarily generous and caring, even after the year we’ve had, and I’m honoured to be part of the wonderful Christmas Collective. I’ll be helping in any way I can, along with posting about all the amazing things that are happening and I really hope others will do whatever they can to. It would be wonderful to see as many people getting involved as possible this Christmas, no matter what their contribution is!’

Ross Borthwick at Waitrose & Partners adds: “We’re so proud to be supporting our local community as part of this fantastic partnership. As a business, our ambition is to be a force for good and to help our local communities wherever possible and this year all our shops are getting involved in our Give a Little Love campaign, which involves supporting local charities who support families in need. We hope that by working with the Kensington and Chelsea Christmas Collective and providing groceries and Christmas treats, we’ll be able to help Give a Little Love to families in the local area.”

Kensington and Chelsea has some of the highest pockets of deprivation and ill-health in the whole of London. This stands in stark contrast to the wealth and glamour of well-known areas like the Kings Road and Notting Hill. Throughout the pandemic and first lockdown large numbers of local people and businesses volunteered to help local charities provide food and support. Through this unprecedented partnership joining forces for winter, they have now identified up to 4000 families and individuals at risk of being hungry, isolated and unwell over the festive period.

Any contributions via the fundraising page are gratefully received as is help getting the link out to as many people as possible.

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