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£3million boost to kickstart the borough's path out of the pandemic

Food Hub - group shot

Mayor Biggs with volunteers outside the food fub

A multi-million-pound scheme to kickstart the economic, health and social recovery from Covid-19, has been launched this week.

Nearly £3m of grants has been committed through the Mayor’s Covid Recovery Fund to support residents, businesses and the work of community organisations recover from the impact of the pandemic. 

Among the 25 projects across the borough that the fund will support to receive a grant from the fund is the Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets (VCTH), which has been awarded a cash injection of £75,000. 

With over 3,000 volunteers on its books, VCTH has been crucial to supporting hundreds of schemes across the borough during the pandemic to help vulnerable residents, including providing volunteers at the Community Food Hub based at Granby Hall Community Centre in Bethnal Green.   

The hub distributes food packs to over 50 organisations across the borough benefiting 7,000 residents a week.  

To date more than 700 tonnes of food and essential household items have been distributed to hostels, women’s refuges, schools and care homes since the pandemic.  

17-year-old Frank Sapp has been volunteering at the food hub for a month. He said: “Volunteering is really satisfying as you learn new skills, help others and have the chance to make new friends. I would really recommend volunteering to everyone no matter what your age.” 

“I am really pleased the Mayor is investing in volunteers as we play an important role in helping the community. 

 70-year-old Jeff Waters has been volunteering at the hub for the past eight months.   

 He said: “I live just opposite the food hub and was curious to see what they do.  

“It really is amazing how many people the hub has helped and I am really proud to be a volunteer here. I welcome the Mayor’s Covid Recovery Fund to help the borough get back on its feet.”  

Visiting the hub, Mayor Biggs said:

“The way in which our community has come together through the pandemic has been truly inspirational.  

“For our part, the council continues to work closely with partners supporting our residents and businesses most affected by loss of income, schooling, the negative impact on physical and mental health, and a rise in social isolation and domestic abuse. 

“I’m proud that through our £3million Covid Recovery Fund we can continue to focus on those areas that need ongoing support and provide a major boost for the whole borough and I look forward to visiting many of the projects in the weeks and months ahead.” 

Cllr Sirajul Islam, Deputy Mayor and Lead Member for Community Safety, Faith and Equalities, added: 

“I’m delighted that the Mayor’s £3million Recovery Fund will support 25 vital projects across many themes and give a crucial lifeline to thousands of residents, businesses and local organisations.  

“Our diverse community is something we hold very dear in Tower Hamlets. That’s why I’m especially delighted that our new fund includes a grants programme for our voluntary and community sector, which had worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, and we’ll also be able to support events to celebrate and commemorate our shared experiences as one community.” 

See the Cabinet Report for a full list of all the projects that will receive support from the Mayor’s Covid Recovery Fund.





Posted on Thursday 8th July 2021