Billboards highlight Hackney community's young heroes
- Credit: Andrew Leo Photographer, @leoandphoto
Teenagers in Hackney, who have been delivering food and running a community food shop on their estate, have been featured on digital billboards across the borough.
About 20 young people from Kingsmead Estate near Hackney Marshes have delivered more than 30,000 hot meals and 10,000 shopping bags to neighbours in need.
They have also spent the last five months running a community food shop which has seen them source, pack and deliver shopping bags filled with pasta, rice, oil, fruit, vegetables and meat. Hot meals are priced at £5 - with profits going back into the shop.
The shop and community food response was set up last year by Joyclen Buffong, who leads the youth organisation Rise 365 and its young members have kept the support going throughout the pandemic.
Teenagers Keianne, Lamiyah, Faith and Indiana, who preferred not to share their last names, have been volunteering on the project for a year.
They said in a statement: “Volunteering in our local community shop has really supported us and the community through the pandemic, we enjoy looking after our community, particularly the elderly as some of them live alone.
"Being part of Rise 365 is great as it has taught us the importance of looking out for others and has built our confidence.”
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The community project recently drew praise from photographer and entrepreneur Cephas Williams, the founder of 56BlackMen, a photo project challenging negative stereotypes of black men.
Joyclen told the Gazette the photographer had tweeted about the story which garnered support and praise across social media.
He then offered to put a photo of some of the young men involved in Rise 365's food project on digital billboards across Hackney.
The billboard campaign celebrates what young people are doing for their community, in particular young Black men who Joyclen said are "often portrayed negatively in mainstream media".
The Rise 365 community shop serves 200 households with help from Hackney Marsh Partnership and Made Up Kitchen. The Felix Project also donates food to the initiative.
The community shop receives no funding and Joyclen says it could close without donations from the public.
To support the community project visit gf.me/u/zg5bnb