Newham charity Bonny Downs Community Association (BDCA) today reported unprecedented demand for emergency support due to the Coronavirus and has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help the community through the next phase of the crisis.
Since it began its emergency response five weeks ago, the charity has provided more than 6,500 days of emergency food and essentials through its hub and foodbank to over 1,300 people across the borough, including families and older people who are vulnerable or self-isolating. It estimates that around a third of the people it is supporting are children.
The charity has also launched or is adapting other services to help Newham residents through the crisis, including:
- A neighbourhood shopper scheme to deliver shopping to people who can afford to pay but are unable to go out at present
- A befriending service for older people who are isolated due to the crisis, along with other support groups and training to help elders get online and stay connected using technology
- A programme of virtual creative activities to help keep children and young people entertained and learning while schools are closed; and
- A phone-based debt, benefits and employment advice and advocacy service while it cannot operate face-to-face.
BDCA says that demand for its emergency relief packs has been greater than expected and there is no sign of it slowing. The charity currently operates an emergency hub on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with volunteers assembling packs of fresh, frozen and store cupboard foods as well as cleaning and household products and delivering them to residents. Its foodbank, which operates on Wednesdays in partnership with Bonny Downs Baptist Church, is at its busiest since it opened in 2013.
The charity is appealing for financial donations to help it continue supporting the community through the crisis. People wishing to support the work can read more and donate at crowdfunder.co.uk/BDCAcovid. Crowdfunder will pass on all funds raised without taking fees.