Community cookery charity Made In Hackney has delivered 25,000 free meals to vulnerable households across East London since launching the lockdown service in March.

Acting royalty: The Crown star Olivia Colman turned up to help with deliveries

Volunteers have clocked up over 1,000 hours handing out roughly 500 meals a day, backed by an £82,000 crowdfunding campaign and the charity’s partnership with Dalston restaurant Angelina.

Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman even stopped by to lend a hand.

The team at Made In Hackney got the scheme up and running in just nine days back in mid-March after realising they would have to close their cookery school.

Since then, they have been working with chefs at Angelina and NHS dietitian Hannah Walker to provide nutritious, plant-based meals to households on a list collated by frontline health workers, local grassroots charities and support services.

The scheme has handed out around 500 meals a day since it launched.
Photograph: Made In Hackney

Made In Hackney founder Sarah Bentley said: “The service is saving lives. We’ve heard stories of our meals being the first food in households for days and our volunteers have been able to help community members in need of hospital attention.

“Made in Hackney’s welfare callers have telephoned ambulances on multiple occasions. This service is so much more than food: it’s been a lifeline.”

The scheme is set to run until the middle of June, by which time the charity hopes to have delivered 34,000 meals.

But the team is looking at how deliveries might continue beyond that after discovering that half of recipients will need them during the economic struggle that lies ahead.

You can donate to the crowdfunder here

For more information about Made In Hackney, head to madeinhackney.org

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team