Festive News Roundup

Wishing all our friends in the community a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  

It’s been a bumper year for Healthy Living Platform. We completed our first year as a registered charity and sealed our reputation as a growing and ambitious community-led organisation – putting food at the heart of everything we do.  

In January, we appointed Kate Bull as our new CEO. In September we introduced our new Community Programmes Manager – Anna – and Carla became our new Community Food Manager – taking over the Surplus Food Hub.  We said goodbye to Mala and Sue, after 4 years of valuable work at HLP. Freya – Team Member since lockdown – moved on to an exciting new role and we welcomed Benji as our new Finance & HR Manager. Meanwhile, Helen stepped back to a more remote position supporting fundraising and development.   

Although we are now operating in a post-pandemic world, the war in Ukraine and cost-of-living crisis has meant the need for communities to support each other through food is still crucially important.  

Our Community Pantries have grown in strength and capacity throughout the year. We set up a new pantry in Myatts Field North with now 40 residents attending weekly. Our St Stephen’s pantry had its 1-year anniversary last week and we set up a new family-focussed pantry in Tulse Hill in collaboration with Jubilee Primary School. 

Our volunteer teams have constantly wowed us with their dedication and willingness to support their local communities: the Moorlands Pantry moved from Southwyck House to Moorlands Community Centre in May, where the launch brought in over 60 visitors and 20 local partners!  

Our Myatts Field Pantry team agreed together that they would open on July 19th – the hottest day of the year! – to make sure that residents could still come for their local pantry shop.  

We’ve had visits and support from local councillors and MPs such as: MP Helen Hayes, Cllr Jim Dickson, Cllr Scarlett O’Hara. As well as fantastic support from our key funders: Lambeth Council, Lambeth Early Action Partnership and CoCreate.

We were also nominated for an Award by the Royal Society for Public Health – for our partnership work supporting vulnerable new parents with a healthy meal service during lockdown. 

Our LEAP programme continues to deliver excellent services for families with young children, with almost all our activities now led by the parents who attend them. We revitalised the popular Mini Chefs sessions, with local chef Rena – who makes eating the rainbow so much fun. While our Brockwell Walks, in partnership with the Breastfeeding Network, bring in 25 families a month; with a delicious healthy lunch cooked by Food Ambassador – Rima.

We also piloted a successful Healthy Home Cooking course for local parents, supported by funding from CoCreate and hosted by our friends at St Stephen’s Children’s Centre.  

In September, we launched our Community Kitchen at 336 – with a brilliant attendance from organisations from across Lambeth. It was the perfect opportunity to showcase all the hard work and preparations that went into developing the space and to present the latest of our community-produced recipe kits for Black History Month    

Having our own kitchen provides us with further opportunities to develop our various cooking activities and projects, including cookalongs, healthy home cooking courses, cooking for the community and catering. 

The kitchen is open for hire at competitive pricing for community groups, charities and corporates and we are keen to hear from any organisations who’d like to partner with us to make use of this fantastic space. Go to our Healthy Living Kitchen page for more info. 

Topping it all off, our Surplus Food Hub team made the move to their new home in 336 just last week. Moving over 3 tons of food, thanks to the support of Darl Group removals & logistics – in the coldest temperatures we’ve had so far. The move means the HLP team has a base for both kitchen and food and we can focus on expanding our Surplus Food Service so we can support even more organisations and groups who know their communities best.   

And for our last piece of festive foodie joy, local pantry member – Jean-Marc- designed and made 40 velvet Christmas stockings to stuff with little gifts for children visiting Moorlands pantry this week. Check out his Insta for more info https://www.instagram.com/_totes4us/?hl=am-et  

Just a reminder we are still recruiting for 2 exciting new roles at the HLP team – if you feel you’d be a good fit, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.  

Catering & Hospitality Manager and Communications & Marketing Officer