Critical support provided to the most vulnerable residents


We have been working to help the boroughs most vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring anyone who needs urgent help while self-isolating, receives it.


Food parcels delivered to over 5,154 residents with urgent needs

We have now delivered food parcels to over 5,000 vulnerable residents across 2,065 households from our emergency food hub in Bethnal Green.

The hub was set up at the beginning of April, to deliver essential food parcels to people classed as extremely vulnerable and at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and to help other at-risk residents who might have difficulty getting food. These include the very elderly who may be self-isolating or unwell with symptoms of coronavirus and without a support network of family or friends. 

The hub is run by redeployed staff and volunteers recruited by the Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets. Together they have packed food including 12,000 tins of soup and pints of milk, 3,000 eggs and over 10,000 staples including bread, cereal, pasta and rice.

We have also been supporting local foodbanks who are helping people who have lost their income. Along with supporting fundraising for First Love Foundation and Bow Food Bank, we have been helping to increase their food supply by linking them with partners who have made generous donations. These include Investec, Aramark, The Felix Project and Fareshare. The Greater London Authority and the Red Cross also donated two large consignments of food, which was shared among local food banks and community support groups.

Read about the how our new partnership helped tackle holiday hunger over Easter and distribute 12,000 hot meals.

Help from local businesses and community sector organisations

Alongside food donated to our hub, Restore donated 1,000 boxes to help us pack food parcels for residents.

To supply residents with food and ensure that food delivered by the government for the extremely vulnerable is nutritionally balanced, we have sourced additional food locally. Supporters have included:

  • Lidl in Limehouse
  • Tesco in Bethnal Green
  • Sainsbury’s in Whitechapel
  • Limehouse Super Store
  • Kacha Bazar Cash and Carry in Mile End
  • Savers Plus in Bethnal Green
  • Sheringhams
  • Prescott Thomas
  • The London Bread and Cake Company Ltd.

Aldi now allows our food hub to place bulk food orders in advance and Tesco has set us up with a Booker account so we can access food supplies at wholesale prices.

We have also had offers to help deliver food from Mears, Surelock Security and the London Fire Brigade.

Help from volunteers

The role of volunteers has been critical to our ability to source, pack and deliver thousands of food parcels. Through the Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets, we have been able to recruit 235 volunteers into three roles in the emergency food hub.

Alongside the 235 volunteers recruited for our food hub, volunteers are working as rangers at Victoria Park, Mile End Park and other small parks across the borough, to help encourage people to follow the government’s advice on social distancing.

The Volunteer Centre has also recruited a pool of over 160 rapid response volunteers who we can call on at short notice if needed – such as collecting shopping for residents who are self-isolating.

Over 1,700 people have now registered to volunteer and help respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are a vulnerable resident and need support while self-isolating, you can contact the council for help.

Posted on Friday 24th April 2020