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Shepherds Bush Families Project - Beatrice

City Harvest Festival 'Kindness is Powerful' Series

Beatrice Panduru – Project Co-Ordinator, Shepherds Bush Families Project

Shepherds Bush Families Project is a registered charity that aims to help families who are homeless or suffer social and economic hardship.

City Harvest began delivering free food to SBFP in 2016, providing savings that enable them to offer more diverse services to families in their local community.

City Harvest has delivered 15 tonnes of food = 36k meals

Preventing 57 tonnes of greenhouse gases

Retail value : £46,440

In the light, spacious and colourful loft playroom of the Shepherds Bush Families Project, children are filled with glee, as they are engaged by a myriad of toys and games under the diligent watch of qualified staff. That’s even before circle time, where children’s favourite songs are sung with passion, and snack time when healthy treats donated by City Harvest are passed around to smiles. These children are given some joy, whilst their parents often struggling with devastating issues of homelessness and poverty can meet and support each other.

We work with parents with the aim of meeting their emotional as well as practical needs, which in turn means they themselves are more able to meet their children’s needs. This reduces the risks of family breakdown.

Shepherds Bush Families Project has been providing such care to local families for 32 years, and the need for their services is more urgent than ever. The COVID crisis had an outsized impact on the community they serve. With schools and offices closed families are forced to remain all day in very small spaces with barely any relief. Domestic violence is on the rise and jobs have been suddenly lost by families who were already contending with complicated situations. The need for emergency food provisions has spiked, including for families who have never before required assistance.

SBFP appreciates the weekly visit from the City Harvest driver who cares deeply about getting children and families food which they are thrilled to receive.

Using food donations from City Harvest, the deeply knowledgeable and empathetic staff quickly organised food parcel deliveries to families.

According to project coordinator, Beatrice Panduru, the team is eager to return to providing their many previous services - breakfast for pre-school children, after school programs, cookery for parents, housing advice and advocacy, parenting courses, job advice and 1:1 therapy for individuals and families in crisis, and of course, parties!

Shepherds Bush Families ensures that the children they support celebrate many events throughout the year and City Harvest is there with just the right treats! We all hope that nothing stops these lovely, enthusiastic children and their parents from enjoying these special times.

“We have many families with several children living in very small temporary accommodation, who desperately need the relief of some safe play space and a chance to meet other parents often experiencing similar challenges.”

The City Harvest driver cares deeply about what we need, bringing just the right, healthy food for our families and children.

Shepherds Bush Families Project often helps families that have slipped through the net when GP’s, schools and local councils fail to pick up on the dire circumstances in which a family has fallen. One family they serve has faced particular challenges during lockdown. With 1 child under 5 and 2 older children and a mother with an autoimmune disease, the father is under great stress. A simple call to Shepherds Bush Family Project indicating that a washing machine was broken soon revealed that the family was completely in crisis. Shepherds Bush Families Project stepped in with housing advice, childcare and financial assistance. Food from City Harvest was offered to nourish the family.

This family has come through with ample support from SBFP. Sadly, many families around London don’t have access to this type of multifaceted support and continue to struggle.

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