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Carney's Community - George

City Harvest Festival 'Kindness is Powerful' Series

George Turner – Carney’s Community

City Harvest has delivered 8.36 tonnes of food = 19,286 meals

Preventing 31.7 tonnes of greenhouse gases

Retail Value : £12,286

City Harvest saves Carney's money that can be spent on other services for their guests.

Carney's Community gym and community centre in Petworth street, Battersea, offers young people between the ages of 11-30 the opportunity to get fit, learn new skills and hang out in a safe and nurturing environment. Inspired by boxing legend Mick Carney and established in 2012 the club has turned around the lives of many through engagement in boxing and fitness. 

Increasingly popular, they work with 600-700 young people a year. The majority of their visitors are from a disadvantaged background or socially excluded, and their aim is to work with them long term, to help reduce re-offending and to improve social mobility and confidence.  

We started offering food as people can’t always eat, they may only get a jam sandwich at home for dinner, and sometimes not even that. 

During COVID, the centre was closed for face-to-face training and activities. But the imaginative staff moved their services online. They now offer video calls, and boxing, fitness and yoga classes that people can participate in from their own homes. 

Before lockdown, the centre used food donated by City Harvest to provide hot meals as part of their 'fit and fed' programme on Monday and Wednesdays. They do some boxing, then sit down to a meal together. Around 60 people attend each week. Cooking the meals and offering  food brings a lot of people in, and then the boxing and training classes are where we work with people on consistency, being structured and working on reliability.  

George explained, “You can see the ones that are hungry when it comes to dishing out, we make sure these kids are looked after.“

“There is an autistic girl who struggles financially, with an abusive background. She comes down all the time and we provide food for her to take away. She sees us like family, we are there for her.  Whether it's getting on at school, getting a job, getting in trouble with the police – we are there to help offer support.”

There are a lot of very shy, vulnerable people who have little or no access to food, for some people our food is all they get.  

There’s a kid who has bad anxiety and finds it hard to even come out. The whole family struggle financially and it's about getting food to them and getting them involved. 

They also cook together to demonstrate how to cook and learn new things. George explains, “This helps them understand about budgeting and how the £5 they may spend on a pizza can buy lots of ingredients to make healthy meals – that will fill them up. Here they get to taste all sorts of different foods that they may not have tried. Different vegetables, salads  and  they can learn how to cook simple meals they can do at home for their siblings.”

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