Community’s pandemic response

British Alevi Federation volunteers make a delivery to North Middlesex University Hospital

Huge effort by local people has helped borough respond to the ongoing public health crisis, reports James Cracknell

Efforts to provide relief to people struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic – and support key workers fighting the virus – are continuing apace in Enfield.

Foodbanks and other charities have taken on the challenge of delivering groceries and essential items to those who need it, while other local organisations have found novel ways to help.

In Edmonton, creative workshop Building Bloqs has put its laser cutting tool to good use by making face visors for the NHS. Co-founder Avninder Nanray told the Dispatch: “When the lockdown began we couldn’t stay open, but our next thought was about ways we could help.

“We reached out to a company running a hub for PPE, and now we’re their main manufacturing space. We have an industrial-grade laser running up to 18 hours, seven days a week, making 500 face visors a day.”

Building Bloqs is appealing for donations for materials at gofundme.com/f/ujap6d-ppe-for-the-nhs.

The British Alevi Federation (BAF) converted its Edmonton headquarters into a distribution centre for food supplies, in co-ordination with The Felix Project. BAF boss Israfil Erbil said: “Our cycling club is helping us deliver essential items to those in need. Many of our volunteers are those who have lost their income due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, our spirits are high and our community solidarity is shining through during these tough times.”

North Enfield Foodbank is continuing to co-ordinate the delivery of free food parcels for those facing financial hardship. Go to northenfield.foodbank.org.uk to see which food items are most in need.

Other charities appealing for help include Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, based at Trent Park, which needs to raise £10,000 per month to continue operating.

The Enfield Stands Together programme launched by Enfield Council in March has now distributed food packages to more than 5,000 residents, as well as 1,800 prescriptions. A partnership between Age UK Enfield and the council’s catering team at Wilbury School is enabling 11,000 hot meals to be sent to elderly residents over an eight-week period, while hundreds of phone calls are being made to check on the wellbeing of isolated people.

London Fire Brigade is assisting prescription deliveries, with Edmonton, Southgate and Carterhatch Lane stations each assigned a local pharmacy. Borough commander Steve West said: “Enfield firefighters are making sure vital medicine is getting to the most vulnerable in the borough – as well as maintaining a full emergency service.”

A second distribution warehouse was opened by the council in April, supplying food for other local groups. The Enfield Stands Together fundraising appeal has raised £18,000 and continues to accept donations via justgiving.com/crowdfunding/enfield-stands-together.

Meanwhile, the council is co-ordinating government financial support for small traders, with £45million-worth of business rate relief so far offered. The council says nearly two-thirds of eligible businesses in Enfield have received financial assistance direct into their bank accounts. Other available support includes a dedicated business response service; an online Enfield marketplace at ShopAppy.com, enabling firms to add online sales and home delivery to their retail offer; plus agreements to waive rent for some commercial tenants – representing a £1.5m subsidy. For more information go to enfield.gov.uk/covid19businesses.

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