Group of volunteers packing up hampers in a kitchen space surrounded by packing crates

The H&F Big Christmas Lunch will feed 500 older residents – thanks to your donations

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Image captionA team of enthusiastic helpers preparing the Christmas meals earlier this week

More than 500 older local residents are looking forward to a Christmas meal after the UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham charity met its target to raise £16,000.

A volunteer wearing face mask and holding a gift bag by a Christmas tree
Image caption: The operation has truly brought the community together

Working with Hammersmith & Fulham Council, the charity has raised the money, thanks to the generosity of residents and local companies, to pay for the H&F Big Christmas Lunch.

A team has been working on the project since August to help provide the annual H&F Christmas lunch for the elderly – despite the pandemic.

Cllr Ben Coleman, H&F Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to everyone in our community who’s donated time and money to give more than 600 residents a great Christmas Day lunch which they wouldn’t otherwise have.

“Although we can’t invite residents to join us at the Town Hall this year, we’re determined that nobody should be left out at Christmas and have worked hard to ensure we can still support them with a hot meal delivered to their home. Huge thanks to the Smile Brigade for cooking hundreds of delicious meals and to UNITED in H&F for raising the funds with us.”

While Savraj Kaur, Director at UNITED in H&F, said: “We’re thrilled to meet the target, thanks to community donations. It means we can provide meals for older people who were expecting to spend Christmas alone, and may already be suffering the distressing loss of loved ones.”

Three people working as volunteers in a kitchen with a large container of Brussel Sprouts
Image caption: Local volunteers from fitness group Good Gym H&F have peeled the sprouts and spuds

Community response

The operation has truly brought the community together.

Local social enterprise Smile Brigade have pulled together a team of enthusiastic helpers to prepare and cook the Christmas meals. The task is so vast that preparations started earlier this week and the team will be going till late afternoon on Christmas Day.

While local volunteers from fitness group Good Gym H&F have peeled the sprouts and spuds, and the local e-Cargo Bikes team will deliver the delicious cooked meals.

The fundraising could not have been possible without McGrath Charitable Trust’s Big Give match funding, which doubled the gifts of donors, and a generous £5,000 boost from Landsec, which owns the W12 Shopping Centre.

Vi Chu, W12 Centre Manager, and Ben Anderson, Landsec Social Sustainability Manager, told us: “Landsec are delighted to be supporting the Big H&F Community Christmas Lunch.

“The W12 Shopping Centre is in heart of the Shepherds Bush community and we know what a difficult year this has been for many of our regular customers and their neighbours.

“This great initiative ensures that many local residents who might otherwise be on their own or not having a proper meal will be enjoying a fantastic Christmas lunch.”

The Hurlingham Club also helped, donating the turkeys that the senior citizens will enjoy.

Christmas gift bags being sorted and prepared by volunteers
Image caption: Christmas gifts being prepared for our elderly residents

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