Community reserve volunteers helping in Brixton

Volunteers up and down the country are playing a key role in the nation’s coronavirus response, supporting many vulnerable individuals.

In London, a number of community reserve volunteers (CRVs) have been deployed to help a range of charitable initiatives including an emergency food distribution hub.
Brixton People’s Kitchen (BPK) provides hundreds of households with a fresh and healthy range of food, delivered to people’s doors or to other charitable organisations who then distribute it among their own networks.

BPK’s aims are to bring people together, help them share skills and reduce food waste but it had to shut its doors when the lockdown came into force. However, like so many organisations it has adapted in light of the coronavirus restrictions.

Since late March, BPK has been commissioned by Lambeth Council to run the North Lambeth Emergency food hub, distributing food boxes to vulnerable people identified by the council or referred to them by organisations such as Age UK.

This project required significant upscaling by BPK and that is where the Red Cross volunteers come in.

Camilla, 25, and Kat, 24, were both furloughed as a result of the virus and chose to sign up to be community reserve volunteers on the Red Cross website.

Kat said: “At first I just saw it as a job that needs to be done… but upon meeting some of the people receiving the deliveries you truly begin to realise some people are not seeing a single person for days on end. It is nice to see them light up when a delivery is made. It bolsters your positive energy and motivation to do more.”

Matt, part-time assistant manager at BPK, is full of praise for our volunteers.

He said: “They have been great; we’ve had a steady stream of people from the Red Cross. The things they’ve been helping with include getting in the deliveries of food and stacking them up. Having the dedication from the volunteers to check the fruit and veg that it is all okay, pack it, and get it out of the door in a timely fashion, is great.”

This programme is one of the many ways our community reserve volunteers are supporting our efforts across the UK.