A year ago, up and down the country, neighbours were coming together to ask how they could respond to the Covid crisis.
In Walworth, there was a clear and urgent priority: getting food to people who needed it. So we banded together with local residents and partners to set up an emergency food distribution hub. A year ago, we delivered our very first food parcel.
This anniversary is a chance to look back on what we’ve achieved together so far. We’ve now delivered over 30,000 parcels direct to the doorsteps of thousands of neighbours in Walworth – an incredible collective effort from our community.
What comes next?
But although an end to lockdown and the immediate Covid crisis may finally be in sight, thousands of our neighbours will still struggle to put food on the table even when the pandemic is over.
While the food hub has been a lifeline in extraordinary times, it has only addressed the symptoms of a problem that existed long before the current crisis.
So today, one year on, we’re introducing the Walworth Neighbourhood Food Model: an ambitious, long-term approach with the aspiration of tackling the root causes of food insecurity in our neighbourhood.
This Model will offer a vision for a network of complementary spaces and initiatives that will work together for a stronger, healthier and happier neighbourhood.
What we’re working on now
At Pembroke House, we’ll be helping to test and build several parts of the Model:
Offering tasty, affordable food, the community cafe at the Walworth Living Room will be a space where neighbours can meet one another and hatch plans to build a better neighbourhood.
Our partners Notting Hill Genesis are developing the Aylesbury Kitchen, which will be home to everything from healthy cook-and-eat sessions to a new, low-cost pantry.
And we’re working on developing a hospitality venue around the new Elephant & Castle town centre, which would generate secure, well-paid employment, and provide a route for new Walworth residents to become part of this community.
All parts of the Model will work to support the local economy, building local supply chains to keep wealth in Walworth – such as by sourcing produce from traders at East Street Market.
We’re developing this Neighbourhood Food Model alongside partners from the Walworth Group, a growing collection of local organisations who are committed to tackling inequality in our neighbourhood.
And this is just the beginning. Whether you’re an individual or an organisation, from this neighbourhood or further afield, there will be opportunities to support and help develop the Walworth Neighbourhood Food Model in the months and years to come.
Thanks to the heroic efforts of our community, we’re now able to start looking ahead to the long term. You can read more about these ambitious plans here.
If you’re already working on a project that aims to build food security in our neighbourhood, we’d love to hear from you. Your plans could be part of the Walworth Neighbourhood Food Model.
As this work develops, we look forward to sharing more about the Walworth Neighbourhood Food Model – and how you can get involved.