Hounslow charity provides 560 hot meals a month with help from SSEN funding

Funding from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has helped a Hounslow charity provide vulnerable members of its community with 560 freshly cooked, hot meals a month throughout the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Hounslow Multi-Cultural Centre has maintained an open door policy across the London Borough for the last 39 years; supporting its local communities and cultures with free food and support services for those who need it most - and assisting over 11,500 people between the ages of 5 to 95 last year alone. 

As the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold, the centre lost almost half of its income and successfully applied to SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund for a £3,000 award to help them to continue providing hot meals to Hounslow’s most vulnerable residents. The repurposed fund of £320,000 helped 178 community organisations like the Hounslow Multi-Cultural Centre with funding that enables them to focus on immediate needs, such as accessing PPE for volunteers or providing hot meals for those self-isolating. 

Following the Government’s safety guidelines relating to coronavirus - and the Centre’s well-established food hygiene standards - a team of young volunteers, the Centre’s existing volunteers and even the Treasurer, Chairman and Director of the Centre, have increased their services over the last eleven months to help sustain the nutritional needs of Hounslow’s diverse communities, with as many as 140 individual meals each week; all made freshly on the day, balanced to meet their recipients’ needs and delivered hot to their door. 

Channi Singh OBE, Director of the Hounslow Multi- Cultural Centre said: 

“Many of those who turn to the Centre for help are elderly, living with disabilities or chronic illness, housebound or isolated, and for them our food service is a lifeline. Our volunteers at the Centre ensure that they get one proper meal a day; tailored to their religious or dietary requirements and that helps to improve their overall wellbeing, while catering to their nutritional needs. 

“The funding from SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund enabled us to deliver freshly cooked meals, four days a week, to 35 local homes for a full month; making a huge difference to the lives of those in Hounslow who are vulnerable, isolated or shielding as result of the coronavirus pandemic. With some homes occupied by couples, we ensure that we supply enough hot food on each delivery to meet both their needs, and at the height of the pandemic last year, that meant as many as 55 meals being prepared and delivered every day.” 

Channi added: 

“During these difficult times, SSEN’s funding has made a real positive difference to the lives of the vulnerable residents who are so reliant on our services; helping them to worry less, be mentally, physically and psychologically happier and healthier, and to alleviate their feeling of isolation.” 

Anthony Urquhart, SSEN’s Head of Region, said: 

“The Hounslow Multi-Cultural Centre is a well-established and well-respected charity in the local area, whose volunteers have served the needs of their widely diverse community for nearly four decades. The level of service they have provided to their vulnerable residents, catering to their nutritional and spiritual needs, during this pandemic is indicative of the care they have shown their community for so many years, and is commendable. 

“I’m proud and happy to have been able to help them achieve this, albeit in a small way, through the award they received from SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund.” 

SSEN repurposed its Resilient Communities Fund, making £320,000 available to support local efforts to help those most vulnerable during the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic. Successful applicants from community, parish, town and borough councils were awarded up to £3,000 each for projects that supported vulnerable community members, enabled volunteers to support community coronavirus initiatives, provide PPE to vulnerable and frontline workers, run community befriending schemes and improve community communication. 

Since its launch in 2015, SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund has provided over £2.7 million to 538 local community projects to build resilience and protect those most vulnerable. The criteria for the fund in 2020 was changed following consultation with SSEN stakeholder groups, who strongly supported opening the fund early and targeting coronavirus response.

To learn more about SSEN’s repurposed Resilient Communities Fund, please click here.