You're viewing an archived version of this project. Please visit the new Big Give site to find current fundraising campaigns.

Project information

Helping Hands Foodbank

AFril Helping Hand Foodbank aims to reduce food insecurity and its consequences ensuring 50 destitute refugees and asylum seekers children don’t go hungry by distributing weekly food parcels, toiletries, baby items, bedding and clothes and also by providing friendship and social interaction

May 2019 - May 2020

Charity information: Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL)

Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL) logo
  • Need


    Food poverty.
    The Helping Hands Foodbank provides essential, basic foodstuffs for 50 children aged 0-16 years old and 25 families.
    Twenty out of the twenty five Foodbank members are single mothers with an average of two children, living mostly in one room in hostels.
    More than half of the foodbank's users are asylum-seekers who survive on £ 5 per day and cant buy essentials like food, toiletries.
    The remainder are migrants with no recourse to public funding who cant work/access benefits.


    The foodbank focuses on relieving food insecurity and addressing complex long-term issues. As well as picking up essential groceries, our mothers can talk to advisers, socialise, introduce their children to other kids, discuss healthy eating plans, such as one-pot cooking, food budgeting and share knowledge focused on good nutrition and its role in both physical and mental health. It's not just handing out food, it's socialising, building support networks and accessing local services.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To support an average of 50 destitute children per week by helping them access basic food.


    » Collecting donations of food from local supermarkets,involving local schools, churches and businesses in food collections
    » Fundraising via various organisations to provide the wherewithal to provide essential food and toiletries.
    » Collecting food from the donors
    » Organising, setting up and providing friendly volunteers to run the foodbank on a Saturday morning

    What success will look like

    We keep records through registration at our foodbank. Through weekly follow-ups and feedback from our service users, we can record the success of our food distribution.

    Aim 2

    To support 30 beneficiaries to transition on to alternative support, to allow for 30 new recipients


    » Ensuring beneficiaries can talk to our adviser and learn how to network with other local organisations in the community.
    » Work with the Afghanistan and Central Asia Association, Downham Tamil Association, Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network and Lewisham Central Mosque

    What success will look like

    Through our follow-up meetings with the beneficiaries, we can record how the foodbank users have moved on from critical need to a more permanent answer to their food poverty.

    Aim 3

    To address the root causes of poverty by helping people find work supporting themselves


    » Support vulnerable migrants as they navigate their way through the complex immigration system.
    » Support with the form-filling and registration required when trying to access housing and healthcare for their families
    » Advising on debt, budgeting and welfare entitlements.

    What success will look like

    The success will be in the numbers of migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds that our advice and advocacy service can convert to individuals with Indefinite Leave to Remain

    Aim 4

    Supporting 60 Foodbank users to participate in workshops on healthcare and healthy cooking/eating


    » Building a healthy lifestyle: family fitness classes, walking groups, grow-your-own workshops on our allotment for children and adults
    » Four healthy eating cookery classes focusing on cooking on a budget using affordable ingredients, weaning and cooking for babies and toddlers

    What success will look like

    The success will be in the numbers that register for, and complete our cookery classes cooking new dishes using fresh ingredients; grow vegetables at our allotment.

    Aim 5

    Free weekly English classes with a creche where babies and toddlers can mix and learn


    » Conversation, reading, form-filling and socialising. Babies and toddlers will also learn English by using games, arts and crafts activities

    What success will look like

    The success will be in the numbers of single mothers and their children who register for, and complete our classes and who go on to register with follow-up courses.

  • Impact


    We are fundraising for children and their families to be able to access the Foodbank for longer than six months and in the long term, to be a valuable resource for critical help, as well as a training platform on the road to financial inclusion, rights and employment.
    We will demostrate the success by interviews/questionnaires and focus groups with beneficiaries at the beginning, middle and end of their involvement with each activity.Registers will be kept together with monitoring database.


    The biggest risk to the success of this project is the fact that many of the service users at the AFRIL foodbank are immigrants classified as having No Recourse to Public Funds, which greatly increases their risk of destitution and contributes to a feeling of helplessness. Their status makes them feel more sensitive to hostility when trying to engage with services, which reduces their confidence further. We have dealt with this by recruiting outreach and bilingual advocacy volunteers to help.


    Donors will be able to read our annual report, as well as take part in our regular community dinners. Our newsletter, blog and website, with its Twitter and Facebook feeds, also keeps donors appraised of our progress at Helping Hands with quarterly newsletters.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £5,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,440 Basic non-perishable food item £30x48 weeks' supply
      £960 Volunteer expenses £5/volunteer for 4 volunteers x 48 weeks
      £1,800 Venue hire £15/hr x2.5hrs x 48 weeks
      £800 Foodbank manager contribution toward NI and pension£92/monthx12months (total £1,104)
  • Background


    St Peter's Church, Lee
    It's linked to the Good Shepherd Church in Lee, both have a strong community outreach ethos


    Up to 120(50 children and 70 adults) per year destitute refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    AFRIL's Helping Hands foodbank is the only service of its kind in Lewisham that specifically addresses the needs, concerns and aspirations of destitute refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants. We also support people with no recourse to public funds, which other organisations may not have the resources or knowledge to do.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Iolanda Chirico

    Foodbank manager

    Saqib Deskmuth

    General Manager

    Joanne McCrone

    Foodbank coordinator at the church of St Peters

    Helen Mason

    Volunteer co-ordinator at AFRIL


Fifty pounds will buy food for a family of three for the week

The Foodbank provides enough for me.I am very pleased to have access to food.Before I used to rely on my friend for food and now, I feel safer"