QPG COMMUNITY AND SPORTS HUB
Compassionate Queen’s Park in Action
Compassion. It’s not just a word. It’s a way of being. It’s not just a concept. It’s love in action. It’s not just something we conveniently practice. It’s something we consistently embody. Compassion for those who are struggling. Compassion for our shared humanness. Compassion for the courage it takes to make it through. Unity begins and ends with compassion. I see me in you, I see you in me, and I want us to live from love together. Jeff brown
QPG Hub currently cooks and delivers hot meals for 24 vulnerable, shielding residents every day.
The story so far
QPG Community and Sports Hub (QPG Hub) were the first local organisation to respond to the Covid-19 crisis in March 2020. Initially they continued their breakfast club offering to local families with young children, delivering bags of food to the doors of vulnerable families.
As QPCC established the Covid-19 Task Force their operation expanded with the growing list of people in need. Delivering shopping, providing hot meals cooked by Ida restaurant, distributing produce from the Felix project, and donated food other local companies. The Community and Sports Hub became a hub for distribution, volunteers and vital doorstep checks for people in crisis.
The lockdown spotlighted people who had been living in poverty and squalor for years, but had existed under the radar of social services. Ryan and the team worked to build trust and support these vulnerable people. Many had very specific dietary requirements, pets to feed, and were feeling horribly isolated. With support from QPCC, QPG Hub bought microwaves, fixed phones, sorted out lost electric keys, fed a lot of cats and chased Westminster social services.
At the peak of the first lockdown, QPG Hub and amazing volunteers were distributing 65 hot meals a day direct to homes, as well as shopping for residents, and continuing to help more people across North Westminster as NHS First Responders. They were very busy indeed, but still continued to deliver a newspaper, pick up prescriptions, and check on the anxious and depressed. They secured some funding from Westminster City Council which allowed them to continue to employ staff and provide meals and activities.
The Hub has coordinated over 80 local volunteers, from those cooking and serving food, people writing labels, people collecting supplies, people shopping, picking up prescriptions, driving, even delivering the Voice, and checking in with someone feeling low. When we need something done, we call the Hub.
As lockdown eased over the summer, QPG Hub offered limited holiday clubs and outdoor sports activities, but they still kept in touch and supported a key group of people on the list. They continued to help wherever needed.
With the November Lockdown, QPCC and QPG braced for another surge of requests for support. Ida prepared hot food three days a week, and QPG Hub distributed and prepared food seven days a week. There was not a huge rise of new people asking for help, however the people already on our shielded list asked for more help as they felt anxious again. Schools were still running, and the Hub continued to offer the breakfast club and afterschool services that are vital to Wilberforce Primary School. During Half Term they provided meals and support for families facing Holiday Hunger.
Leading up to Christmas, with QPCC’s support, QPG Hub continued to offer cooked hot meals, the weekly fish and chips, and a Christmas Eve hamper to all the residents on their list. They added one family to their hot food rota, from the Mozart Estate, a child who had tested positive, a single mother who had become ill and had to call an ambulance, living in fear in isolation.
This service was a huge moral boost for these local elderly people, those with severe health conditions, and vulnerable families. QPCC Covid-19 Task Force covered the cost of ingredients, and packaging, and a detailed breakdown of expenditure has been reported.
The Hot Food is not simply a meal for the hungry. The Hot Food delivery service cheers people up, provides a point of human contact, and shows them that someone cares. The people Ryan delivers meals and shopping to literally may not speak to anyone else the whole day.
Over Christmas and the New Year, the new strain of Covid-19 hit Queen’s Park schools with force. A few members QPCC Covid-19 Task force tested positive and are now recovering. Many more families in the ward have been affected by the virus. The new national lockdown has meant families are now home schooling and Holiday Hunger has again become an issue. Last week the hub cooked 20 hot school meals for children when Queen’s Park Primary’s caterers couldn’t supply them. This week they are preparing hot meals for 24 people paid for by a generous donation from a local resident.
Raising QPCC’s profile
QPG Community and Sports Hub have consistently raised QPCC’s profile across social media and improved their connections with the community and other organisations. As a leading part of the QPCC Covid-19 Task force they offer a daily example of Queen’s Park Community Council compassion in action, and their visibility has reached across Westminster. Ryan’s name in lights across Oxford Street was a well-deserved tribute, but also highlighted the impact his work has had in the area. This partnership has been an essential part of our support.
THANK YOU for all you do, QPG Community and Sports Hub!
QPG Community and Sports Hub covid-19 support donation page: