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Coronavirus: Community kitchen in Kilburn remains an important outlet for Brent and Westminster’s vulnerable residents

PUBLISHED: 15:41 18 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:41 18 May 2020

Granville Community Kitchen volunteers  in Kilburn are feeding hundreds a week during covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Leslie Barson

Granville Community Kitchen volunteers in Kilburn are feeding hundreds a week during covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Leslie Barson

Archant

Volunteers in Kilburn find themselves as busy now as they did before Coronavirus closed their kitchen.

Granville Community Kitchen (GCK), in the Granville Centre in Carlton Vale, has become a busy base of food deliveries for vulnerable people near and far.

Prior to covid it fed those who came to them on site.

But now, helping to feed some 400 people a week during the two days the centre is open are 15 volunteers including delivery drivers.

Leslie Barson, co-founder of GCK, said: “It’s going really well, we’ve regular volunteers who are getting really efficient and picking everything up really quickly.

“There are people who have never been involved with us before but now, through the loss jobs or being furloughed, they are now struggling and need help.

“we are non-referral, anybody who asks for food will get it. It’s demeaning enough to have to ask for help without having to prove it.”

Once a week they provide hot meals which are delivered to families with a bag containing extra food aswell as toiletries and cleaning materials. “It’s not enough for a week on its own but it is enough as a staple,” said Leslie.

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“The kitchen’s used to decant food... 50 boiled eggs in a tin and we have to put it in individual bags. We get vats of cream cheese.

“We assume the surplus of food we’re getting will dry up, as it came largely from restaurants collapsing but we’ll see.”

The Granville is one of the organisations who are in receipt of meals from the Community Response Kitchen in Alperton. and its founders Daksha Varsani and husband Paresh Jethwa.

“The amount of organisations setting up kitchens at the moment is astonishing; we’ve been approached by six different kitchens.

“We’ve remained loyal to Daksha and Paresh as they’ve been there from the start,” said Leslie.

The couple have delivered more than 87,000 meals and have inspired a whole community in the borough and now their cooked food and other donated food from local businesses are received by charities, schools and mutual aid groups in other parts of London.”

The Granville in turn deliver locally - they have schools reaching out to them - and further into Westminster and a homeless hostel in Bayswater.

“The Granville has been pushed forward as an important site of community activity in Brent,” Leslie added.


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