As we approach the end of 2020 I would like to wish you all a happy, restful and healthy Christmas and New Year. None of us will forget this turbulent year and I feel sure we all have hopes of better times in 2021.
We all know of the devastating impact of Covid19 globally.
At The Food Chain we saw very quickly how the health and social inequalities already experienced by the most vulnerable people living with HIV in London were magnified and brought into even sharper focus..
The huge increase in referrals to our service was swift and sustained.
In a typical year we would provide services for around 350 people living with HIV and their families. This year it will be closer to 700. It will be quite some time before the crisis experienced by so many this year will recede.
On the day that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation publishes research showing that a staggering 2 million people in the UK are facing destitution in the coming years, It has never been clearer that our services are needed and that we provide a lifeline for many of the people we support.
We often share the positive feedback we receive from service users, who are very appreciative of the support we are able to offer. It is rewarding to know that the work we do together makes a real difference to people’s lives. But how sad it is too, that year on year we receive an increasing number of messages such as this one “Thank you so much for your help, you have saved my life”. As we mark 32 years of providing our services on Christmas Day this year, we still hope and work for a future in which nobody needs to send us this message.
We are delighted to be ending this particular year by providing a range of support services over the holiday that will reach some 320 families across London. That this includes a sit-down meal in the kitchen for 24 of our service users in itself feels like a small green shoot of hope for better times ahead. We are deeply thankful to all the volunteers and staff who are making this possible. There is always a festive mood in the kitchen at Christmas, and this year will be no exception.
The new year will bring change, and for us, that will include a move out of Acorn House to new premises. Development plans for Acorn House have been approved, the rest of the building has been vacated and it is time for us to relocate our kitchen. We are in discussion with our potential new landlords and making plans to move early on in 2021. As soon as we have everything confirmed we will share all the details. What I can say for now is that we are staying in the same neighborhood and we will still have a kitchen and dining area. So, when the day comes that we can open our doors for Eating Together lunches and Eating Positively cookery classes, we will be ready and raring to go.
From everyone in the team, we wish you well for Christmas and look forward to sharing a cup of kindness (and seeing you in person) in 2021!