A growing initiative by Clapton Community Church sees the provision of much needed items to front-line workers, low income families and pregnant mothers.
The news reports of deaths of front-line workers from COVID-19 sparked the small project by the Clapton Community Hub to supply visors for the staff at the local Homerton Hospital in East London.
Soon there was such an overwhelming demand that the small group of volunteers, some from the Clapton Seventh-day Adventist church and some from the community, found themselves using the premises of the church between four and six hours a day, six days a week, to make these much-needed visors.
Visors were sent to care homes, given to district nurses, and supplied to pharmacies and corner shop staff, as well as to the local hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital for children. Requests were then made from as far away as Hartlepool, Reading and Luton . . . so the production of 1,000 visors doubled to 2,000.
Great Ormond Street Hospital acknowledged their contribution in a letter of 20 May: ‘We would like to say thank you for your donation of face shields for the Haemodialysis Unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital. The staff have commented on how comfortable and safe these masks feel, which is essential for our work with the children on haemodialysis. . . .’
Alongside the visors, the Clapton Community Hub was also asked if it could provide hand cream for front-line workers. One member of the Clapton church started to make jars of hand cream with natural ingredients.
The opening of the church premises each day for the making of visors enabled people from the community to find safety and sanctuary and to spend time with God. Others entered the building and enquired if any food donations were available: and there started the food distribution project with both cooked and non-perishable food items, which were donated by local people.
The initiative grew even further as the Clapton Community Hub was invited to assist families on low incomes, as well as pregnant mothers who were still shielding and were not able to purchase or make their own baby food. Within 24 hours of putting out the call for supplies, they were overwhelmed with food, baby clothes and packs of nappies.
Their next venture is to provide 50 face shields to every local school, and also to supply barbers and hairdressers with them.
‘We will continue to join in the community spirit of making a difference to our front-line key workers and also serving our neighbourhood with food,’ said Beautine Wester, a key mover and shaker behind these initiatives in Clapton.
‘From small acorns, mighty oaks grow,’ said Pastor Bert Smit, CEO of ADRA-UK. ‘It is truly exciting to see how a single-focused initiative around PPE has grown into a project that has impacted nearly 3,000 people over the past eight weeks. I am humbled by the dedication of the volunteers who freely give of their time to assist others in need.’
Written by: Catherine Boldeau (Development Education Officer and ‘I am Urban’ lead)
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