With Christmas and the new year approaching, we want to thank all those who have enabled us to continue supporting our community throughout 2022.
The past year has been another difficult one for our community, as we have barely moved on from the effects of coronavirus, and are now struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. At the same time we’ve been encouraged by the generosity of our supporters, and it’s been heartening to see so much support coming from our existing partnerships as well as new and unexpected places.
First we must thank our longest supporters, Westminster City Council. We’re so grateful for all they’ve done to enable us to continue our work in our amazing location over the years, and it’s also been good to work with some new people there this year. A team from the council recently organised a cake sale to raise money for our services. We’ve been working closely with the council’s new Community Department which has supported our Community Pantry to provide affordable food to local residents. They’ve recently funded 1,400 free meals at our Wash House Café so we can provide a hot meal in a warm space to those who need it.
We also want to thank City Harvest and the Felix Project who have both been supplying food to our Pantry throughout the year. They drive around London collecting food that is no longer needed by businesses and deliver it to services like our Pantry. They work with all kinds of shops and supermarkets to provide a wide variety of goods, from essential supplies to luxury meals.
Thanks also to the Salvation Army’s Regent Hall and a few others who have been collecting food for the Pantry. The Pantry has grown consistently over the past year and is now one of our biggest projects, providing vital support to hundreds of local residents and families.
We want to thank our corporate partners from Bouygues and Ambassadeurs Group. Both started with volunteering for the day at our Tea Parties, which are some of the highlights of our calendar, and an essential part of our work to build connections and reduce isolation in our communities. They got stuck in with the fun and dancing and enjoyed themselves so much that they keep on coming back for more, and have since offered further support including raffle prizes and funding.
Our centre is surrounded by many government departments in Westminster, and we’ve been delighted to meet some wonderful civil servants who have offered a range of support from gift wrapping to data science, and further help through volunteering and fundraising.
BentallGreenOak’s Welput team selected us for ongoing support as part of their massive redevelopment of the former House of Frasier site at 105 Victoria Street.
Dolphin Square, “one of central London’s most sought after rental locations,” donated loads of furniture, kitchen equipment and more after a refurbishment of their apartment complex.
Westminster Wheels donated bikes to our service users who completed our recent cycling course, helping us introduce them to a cheap, clean and safe way to travel. Cafe Fresco donated a freezer to our Community Pantry, greatly increasing the amount of food we can provide. Strive Development offered a financial donation to the Pantry. We also had hundreds of books donated after we hosted an event by the National Literacy Trust.
More recently we had a donation of over 200 toys from WHSmith and Boots, which was coordinated by our long-time supporter, local MP Nickie Aiken. It’s lovely to be able to work together with such well-known brands to support our community. This generous donation will go a long way to help ensure our clients can have the Christmas they deserve.
This would not have been possible without the support of our amazing volunteers, who are in our centre every day supporting our various projects, covering our reception and helping in our office. Some have given hundreds, even up to over a thousand hours to help our community over the past year. We are incredibly grateful for everything they have done for us.
Many thanks to any individuals who have donated to us this year, and apologies to anyone we have forgotten. We are warmed by your kindness and generosity, which is making a real difference in the lives of the people we work with.
18 December 2022