Hackney charity director nominated for BBC Radio London hero campaign
Chiara Wilkinson, @chiarawilkinson
- Credit: Andrew Leo
The director of a Hackney charity is nominated as the borough’s lockdown hero for BBC Radio London’s Make a Difference Hero campaign on Sunday.
Originally from Edinburgh, Colette Allen has worked at the youth charity Hackney Quest for 20 years and was nominated by the council in the scheme honouring those making a difference to their local communities during the Covid pandemic.
Based on Poole Road, the charity has 100 volunteers and works to provide mentoring services, activities, and support to more than 300 young people in the borough.
When the charity had to stop its regular youth club services last March, the team took their services online, providing cookery and fitness classes and a youth employment programme.
“We also ended up opening an emergency food bank last April,” said Colette, recognising a pressing need to support the most vulnerable as the pandemic took hold.
You may also want to watch:
“Which basically tripled in size over the year," she added.
“The other thing we've done is a big campaign around the digital divide with some young people not having access to equipment like laptops to work at home. Thanks to a fundraising campaign, we've supplied 90 laptops and tablets to young people during the pandemic.”
- 1 70 firefighters tackle Old Street tower block blaze
- 2 Your Paper, Your Voice: We want to hear from you
- 3 Three men charged following Hackney shooting
- 4 'Betrayal of Tottenham Hotspur': fans slam European Super League plan
- 5 Jailed: Newham men who raped and robbed women in Hackney home
- 6 Roads, Museum of the Home, Living Wage and child exploitation
- 7 NEU members continue strike action at Leaways
- 8 Hackney schoolgirl and actress Bukky Bakray wins Bafta
- 9 Police hunt Ilford man after shooting in Hackney
- 10 Mare Street Narroway see's queues for Primark and independent shops reopen on April 12
In November, the charity formed a consortium with the council and other local community organisations including Wick Award, Morningside and Gascoyne Youth Clubs, St Mary of Eton and Frampton Park Baptist Church, to provide meals for people self-isolating.
“For the voluntary sector, it feels like being very visible during the pandemic has attracted a lot of support for us as organisations,” said Colette. “Working with the council on the food support has really given us some stability as well. To know you have the funding and support to do a project which is really intense has been quite comforting.”
Speaking about the Lockdown Hero recognition for her work in the pandemic, Colette said: “It shouldn't really be about me, or even Hackney Quest, although I am really thankful for the amazing team we have.
"Hackney Quest is not the only organisation that's doing brilliant things in Hackney, there's hundreds of them. It’s really about the community working together.”