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Three Brent charities receive a total £21k gift from Brondesbury's Yusuf Islam Foundation

PUBLISHED: 10:58 28 December 2019

Yusuf/Cat Stevens, founder of the Yusuf Islam Foundation. Picture: Danny Clinch

Yusuf/Cat Stevens, founder of the Yusuf Islam Foundation. Picture: Danny Clinch

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Christmas cheer came early for three Brent charities thanks to a foundation founded by Brondesbury's global music superstar.

St Laurence's Larder, in Brondesbury, Salusbury World, in Queen's Park, and Stonebridge-based Sufra NW London received donations of £7,000 each from the Yusuf Islam Foundation, headed by Yusuf, formerly Cat Stevens.

Multiple businesses in Kensal Rise came out to support the Help the Hungry online auction.

The singer-songwriter and peace activist set up the Yusuf Islam Foundation in 2010 to help with community development and alleviate poverty.

As well as founding the Maqam Centre, a community hub in Wrentham Avenue, he established Islamia Primary School, Islamia Girl's School and Brondesbury College.

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"We feel responsible to care for the most vulnerable in our community and very much support the wonderful efforts to serve our friendly neighbourhood," said Yusuf.

Giles Deards, one of the organisers of the online auction, which £3,765 on top of the £21,000 gift, said: "The idea behind [the volunteer network] kensalqueenspark is to help connect people and grow community. So it maybe shouldn't have been a surprise that Yusuf got in touch when he saw news of the auction but we nearly all fell off our chairs at the size of the gesture."

The charity auction included prizes such as an abstract painting by local artist Monica Maja Richardson and a year's membership at the Lexi Cinema.

The three charities, each of which depend on volunteers and donations, said they were "thrilled" with the donations.

Salusbury World works with refugee families moving to the Queens Park area and needs to raise £300,000 a year.

St Laurence's Larder on Christchurch Avenue hopes to raise £1,000 a month to continue feeding around 80-90 guests twice a week. Sufra NW London, in Pitfield Way, provides a foodbank, emergency interventions, counselling and training for people in crisis.

Giles thanked all the businesses which supported the fundraising and said: "Looking ahead, we'd love more like-minded people to get in touch, wherever you are in Brent, to share other fundraising and community-building ideas."

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