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The CNJ aid van makes more stops to help reach those in need

...and we help get PPE to council workers

26 April, 2020 — By Dan Carrier

The New Journal’s Dan Carrier helps stock up Streets Kitchen emergency food kitchen

FROM individual donations dropped off by people who have stuck an extra something in their weekly shop, to independent stores wanting to help out with supplies, the New Journal aid van was packed again this week.

And once again, our reporters have spent the last seven days getting the goods to those in need, by making runs to food banks, crisis centres and neighbourhood projects.

Behind closed doors across the borough, there are people in desperate need of food, so we have made runs to the London Irish Centre in Camden Square, the Somers Town Community Association, homeless outreach team Streets Kitchen, the Somers Town project Food For All, the Queen’s Crescent Community Association, Highgate Newtown Crisis Centre and relief operations in Kilburn.

London Irish Centre staff Ruth Melican, Tina Stokes and Terry Morgan

Below: Highgate Newtown Crisis Centre volunteers Kirsi Sumray and Celine Myers

Our decision since the start of the outbreak has been not just to report on the crisis, but to use our position as the borough’s most far-reaching newspaper to help on the ground. We have also made visits to scores of our readers who need a bit of extra help – taking your donations to them each day, and making sure nobody feels alone.

Tom, a widower in his 80s who lives in West Hampstead, has had a reporter regularly pop round with enough groceries to provide breakfast, home-made soups for lunch and something tasty for dinner.

He said: “Knowing the New Journal is on your side is such a relief. I’ve always been very independent, but I’m not able to get out and about safely, and the queues at the supermarket were too much for me. Having that lifeline through the newspaper has been very comforting – thank you to your readers for their support.”

Frontline staff working for the council have also had a visit from the New Journal aid van this week after we received a job lot of high-spec personal protection equipment from our contacts at the Royal College of Surgeons.

We helped get PPE to council workers

The Lincoln’s Inn Fields college kindly donated boxes of masks, gloves and gowns for us to pass on to council workers.

The Town Hall’s emergency management officer Samantha Whiteside is sourcing the council’s cache of PPE and her team has delivered 104,000 individual items over the past four weeks to care homes, children’s services, supported accommodation and volunteers who are working to help keep services running.

She said: “We have been supplying frontline staff using an app we designed so people can let us know what they need.”

Ms Whiteside has been working to get the Town Hall as much equipment as they can. She said: “In early March I got hold of a single trader in PPE called Capital On Line. They’ve helped us enormously.”

Other equipment has been sourced by students from Middlesex University, who have made masks.

Ms Whiteside said: “We have taken PPE to over 100 different locations across the borough, and would like to thank the New Journal and the Royal College of Surgeons for their help. Our team of volunteers have been brilliant – they have stopped doing their usual jobs to deliver PPE, food parcels to homeless people and taking stocks to food banks. They are working so hard. I am deeply grateful.”

Volunteer Arthur Holcombe

And thank you to all of our readers who have helped the CNJ’s efforts, or any of the mutual aid groups and charities who are helping to get supplies to where they need to be.

It is a measure of what makes Camden special.

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