LHC Community Benefit Update: London and South East, Autumn 2020

We hope you and your families have been keeping safe. We are delighted to update you on our community benefit fund.

This year’s Fund is now going live in: Brent, Islington, Hillingdon, Haringey, Lambeth, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth and Buckinghamshire.
Look out for news of more investments in fantastic community projects next quarter  

In the meantime….

How are our first-year projects getting on?

As predicted, majority of our projects have been delayed due to Covid–19. However, most are now underway and we are keeping in contact and helping where we can.

Sustainability and match funding

We encourage ‘small spending’ which makes a ‘big difference’ for projects to grow their impact and attract funds from other sources.

As a result, we are proud to highlight Octopus Community Networks, one of our first investments, have gone on to secure £200,000 from the National Lottery Fund to extend their work on food poverty. 

Read more to find out about how the LHC Community Benefit Fund is supporting:

  • Community groups to take over the running of their own libraries in Ealing
  • A social prescribing service for families in need in Hackney
  • The transformation of derelict land in Buckinghamshire for use by the community.

Finally, we have an update from the Antwerp Arms in Haringey, who delivered over a thousand meals to communities during lockdown.


“Although I am delivering meals for those at risk while observing COVID isolation. I am acting as a physical lifeline and welfare checker for those without friends; family and without access to technology”. Quote from Antwerp Arms Volunteer


Octopus Community Networks, Islington

Food Hub Project

As a member of the Food Poverty Alliance Steering Group in Islington, Octopus as an established network of multi-purpose community centres is committed to address food poverty by providing access to community meals and healthy food.

The project has substantially delivered on the two main aspects of the LHC Funded project:

  1. Run three small-scale healthy eating hub/food hub pilot projects to help develop sustainable and scalable projects. All three projects will be tailored to local needs and will focus on working on targeted social housing estates.
  2. Continue to work-up a community-led social action model so that in the future every member of the network has the potential to become a ‘Healthy Eating Hub’ and/or a ‘Food Hub’.

The LHC contribution has helped the groups develop their case for further funding including securing £200k from the National Lottery Fund Climate Action Fund for their Action for Local Food project.


Ealing Community Managed Libraries

Five Libraries in Ealing have been taken over by community groups, saving them from potential closure.  The LHC Fund has provided a contribution to each to help fit out the libraries and provide activities to bring them alive.

The libraries were due to re-open in April but lease arrangements have been delayed due to the Coronavirus.  In the meantime, communities are doing what they can to provide services online and to prepare for opening as soon as possible.

The West Ealing Library group, with the help of the LHC fund, have completed the work on creating two interview rooms and a meeting/training room. They have secured a contract to be a Census Support Centre between March and May 2021 at the library - this will be the first fully digital census and many residents who are digitally excluded, will be able to access support at West Ealing Library.


Oakside Open Space, Buckinghamshire

The LHC fund has contributed to the opening of this derelict parcel of parcel of land in the Colne Valley for community use. A new footpath is now complete and the new interpretation board (and bench) are about to be installed along with bird and bat boxes.

The planned opening event and guided walks have had to be delayed. The team, however have been engaging with residents using social media and through leaflets. They’re also planning a treasure trail for the October half term.


Hackney Playbus social prescribing project

Regular Hackney Playbus sessions have been suspended since March. Instead, the team are supporting families with babies and young children through five weekly sessions using Zoom, online play videos, a fortnightly newsletter and one-to-one telephone support. This is demanding work that has entailed, in some cases, more intensive family support than would ordinarily be provided.

They are continuing to work on ways to facilitate the development of peer support networks, an important aspect of regular Playbus sessions but a considerable challenge under Covid/lockdown conditions; and are in the process of gradually starting smaller in-person play sessions, which will help families to link up with each other.


Antwerp  Arms, Haringey

Supported by LHC, the project partnered up with food distribution agencies Fareshare and Felix to deliver cook and deliver over 1040 meals to the community over between 26 March and 30 June. Food collection volunteers collected food from distribution points to the operation base for the cooking volunteering team to sort and prepare the hot meals. The meals prepared ranged from pasta bake; sausages and mash; chicken curry, including a vegetable option available. Each meal will be accompanied with a piece of fruit and a bottle of drink. There were special meals made to celebrate St George's Day in April and the Antwerp Arms Association's 5th birthday in May.

'Although I am delivering meals for those at risk while observing COVID isolation. I am acting as a physical lifeline and welfare checker for those without friends; family and without access to technology. I can make sure that the residents are OK when I see they are answering the door; saying hello and showing gratitude. I can raise any concern to the authorities if residents are not answering the door or not behaving in their usual ways.'


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