Fifty local residents most at risk have received emergency food parcels as a result of a Hammersmith & Fulham charity fund.
Home deliveries coordinated by the River House Trust have been made to older people in the borough who are living with HIV.
It is one of a number of frontline groups being supported by the Winter Covid Fund that was launched in November by UNITED in H&F and Hammersmith & Fulham Council. It has now channelled £22,000 to community projects, including £4,000 given out this week in the first distribution of 2021.
The fund is entirely made up of donations from local people, firms, trusts and foundations, to assist those who would otherwise fall through the safety net.
Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader of H&F Council, praised those whose kindness had made the Winter Covid Fund’s work possible. “It is thanks to those who give money to support others that the fund is able to provide immediate assistance,” she said. “Without donors’ generosity we would not have this vital lifeline.”
Chris Woolls, director of the River House Trust which is based beside Furnivall Gardens in Hammersmith, said that the fund had made a huge difference already. “Our ability to arrive each week with a food parcel means the world to isolated members,” he said.
“Some feel so alone and afraid – it’s bringing back terrible memories of how they felt when they were first diagnosed with HIV.”
Chris, who served on the government’s independent advisory group for sexual health and HIV and chaired the Central West London Sexual Health and HIV Forum, said that the charity had had to rapidly remodel its services to meet urgent needs, supplying food parcels to those isolating.
“Please don’t think this is over when social distancing starts to be relaxed and some people get a semblance of their old lives back,” he said, stressing the need for continuing support.
“This isn’t going to happen immediately for older people with HIV, so please keep supporting initiatives like UNITED in H&F. We need you!”
Anyone can still donate to the Winter Covid Appeal.
The fund’s latest awards have been made to:
Hammersmith and Fulham Mencap – £1,000
To make welfare calls and liaise with social services to support adults with learning disabilities
Global Action for Autism – £988
To provide art therapy at home for people with autism
Lucas Ark – £1,000
To provide vital phone top-ups to victims of domestic abuse in Fulham
River House Trust – £947
To continue to provide weekly contact and food parcels to those people with HIV who are shielding
If you’re a community organisation, you can apply for funding today via UNITED’s website.