A group of Queens Park and Kensal Green businesses have created a Love Local online auction to support the area’s struggling charities.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Picture: ArchantPicture: Archant (Image: Archant)

Supported by the Brent & Kilburn Times, the online auction is in aid of Queen’s Park refugee charity Salusbury World, Elders Voice in Kensal Green, and the Brent Centre for Young People in Brondesbury Park; as well as food charities Granville Community Kitchen in Carlton Vale, Laurence’s Larder in Brondesbury and Willesden Mutual Aid Foodbank. They have all warned they may have to cut services to be able to continue to operate.

A quarter of the money raised from bids will go to support the local business donating the prize, with the other 75 per cent supporting the local nominated charities as an equal split.

Sarah Reynolds of Salusbury World said: “Jobs have been lost, shops and services have shut, fundraising events have had to move online or be cancelled and foodbank use has more than doubled.

“Against a backdrop like that, and no government funding, it’s no surprise that charities like ours are really struggling. But it’s also sadly the case that vulnerable people are telling us that our services are needed more than ever. This is why community teamwork is so important and appreciated.”

Gail Foord, chair of trustees at Laurence’s Larder, said: “Our team of volunteers have been offering a warm, no questions-asked, welcome to vulnerable people in the Kilburn area for many years, offering food as well as emotional and practical support. We need to raise around £12,000 annually to cover costs so every bit of help towards that means we can continue to be here for anyone that needs us.”

Leslie Barham, co-founder of Granville Community Kitchen in south Kilburn, said “Our community kitchen has always been very busy but demand is now greater than ever. We reach over 1,000 people a week and feel very strongly that anyone who asks for food help gets it, without the need for an application process or paperwork. We want to provide good food access and dignity for everyone”.

Vijay Christian, head of finance and resources of Brent Centre for Young People, said: “The impact of Covid on young people’s lives has made the need for our services even greater at a time when traditional fundraising is most difficult. Thank you to the Kilburn Times for helping us raise the profile of the hard challenges facing charities.”

John Cuming-Higgs, CEO of Elders Voice said: “Through our work we strive to enrich older people’s lives and help them maintain their independence and wellbeing. During this pandemic it has been the local community organisations that have been vital to crisis response, but it is these same local community organisations that are now most at risk of being lost as we come out of the current emergency.”

Dione Southby, of Willesden Mutual Aid, said: “Together our community has served thousands of parcels since we started the Willesden Mutual Aid Foodbank in March, which demonstrates the severity of the crisis we are facing. Lockdowns and furloughing will undoubtedly make things worse before they get better and we are grateful for all the support and commitment from so many in our community.”

The online auction will run until 9pm on December 20. It is supported by businesses including Arabella’s House, Bags Of Love, Bel & Nev, Cuore Italian Deli, Bom Asian Kitchen, Bread Ahead, Brooks Butchers, Cable Co, Contrado, Den Bake Shop, Gails Bakery, Gym Locomotive, Hana Sushi, Heirlooms & Wooden Spoons, The Hearth, House of Hayley, Jess Rose Photography, Joli, The Kensal Store, Kilburn Arms, Lily King, London Bookman, Mariangela Personal Training, The Maqam, Mindful Kids London, MMQ Piano, Moberly Sports Centre, Monica Maja Richardson Art, Nooki Design, NXTPhase Fitness, Queens Park Books, Sanzio Restaurant, Sharmine Organic, Sparkle O’Hara Boutique, Sol Airzcorbe Photography, Straker Hair Sybil Roskill Osteopathy, Swimming Nature, Vicki’s, Which Way is Up Art and William IV.

Brent & Kilburn Times editor Andre Langlois said: “It’s clear that many charities are doing brilliant work in our community but are now in danger of disappearing. We need to support them and this auction is one way we can help raise awareness of what they do and why it’s so important and help them continue.

“The BKTimes has always been a champion of community and we are delighted to support the online auction. We’d encourage any businesses to get in touch to add to the prizes and to nominate local charities that are important to them.”

Bid now at www.bit.ly/localauction to support local business and charities.