Castle Food Service is a volunteer-powered emergency food provision service.
We need your help to support people who need access to cooked meals and groceries during the COVID-19 crisis!
Castle Food Service is a small group of local residents and staff at the Castle Climbing Centre, working together to create an emergency food provision service. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we will prepare and distribute over 500 healthy, home-cooked meals every week.
The Castle Climbing Centre is a climbing gym in Hackney North with a sustainable vegetarian and vegan cafe. While The Castle's doors are closed, the centre is supporting the Castle Food Service by offering a base for action, with free access to the kitchen and facilities (which have a five-star hygiene rating), and fresh food grown in the onsite permaculture garden.
We stand in solidarity with all members of our community. It is our priority to provide food and support to those who are most at-risk and isolated throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Castle Food Service volunteer chefs will prepare over 500 healthy vegetarian and vegan meals per week.
Our non-contact volunteers will deliver meals and grocery packages to local community hubs and services, as well as directly to the doors of self-isolated, shielded and low-income families and individuals within a two-mile radius of The Castle Climbing Centre. NHS and other key workers will also have access to meals through the programme. Community delivery volunteers will check in with service users to see how they are coping and whether they are in need of further support.
This service is free or pay-as-you-can for families and individuals, or service providers supporting people local to The Castle Climbing Centre. We will run this service for at least two months. The kitchen will open next week (beginning 20th April) and deliveries will be available from Monday 27th April.
We have already received an overwhelming response to the project from local community organisations. This service is desperately needed.
We have partnered with a number of local organisations, including Manor House Development Trust, BlindAid, Akwaaba and St John the Evangelist Church, leveraging existing support networks to ensure we reach as many people in need of this service as possible. We are also operating a hotline for local people to access our service directly; the number is 0208 706 0970.
In strict compliance with the government position on lockdown and physical distancing, we will be working within a two-mile radius of The Castle Climbing Centre. In order to prevent further pressure on public transport services and risk to key workers, we will be fulfilling all deliveries by bike or on foot. Our activities fully comply with COVID-19 NHS guidelines.
We appreciate any donation you can make to help us provide this service. Just £5 can feed a family of four a healthy, home-cooked vegetarian or vegan meal.
Please help us in our efforts to ensure that everyone in our community has access to nutritious food in this time of crisis.
Your donation will help cover the costs of:
- Plant-based ingredients from Suma Cooperative (to supplement surplus fresh produce).
- Compostable and/or recyclable take-away containers.
- Personal protective equipment, alcohol-based sanitisers and cleaning products.
- Gas and electricity usage.
- Supporting the wider National Food Service Campaign.
We encourage our volunteers to offer their time, energy and skills only if they feel they are in a position to do so. We recognise that this is a difficult time for everybody and the well-being of our volunteers is paramount. We have mental health first aiders on our team, who will be regularly checking in with volunteers to offer support and ensure that they have the capacity to continue working with us.
If you would like to volunteer, please fill in our Volunteer Sign Up Form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to this direct action, Castle Food Service is campaigning as part of the National Food Service, which demands that people's basic food needs are met during the pandemic and forever after. You can read more about the NFS campaign at www.nationalfoodservice.uk.