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Local Heroes: Young Hackney volunteers support their communities during Covid-19 outbreak

PUBLISHED: 09:56 29 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:56 29 April 2020

Badu Sports is a sports company which aims to challenge, engage, mentor and train young people in Hackney. Picture: Badu

Badu Sports is a sports company which aims to challenge, engage, mentor and train young people in Hackney. Picture: Badu

Badu

A sports company based in Olympic Park’s Here East has mobilised young volunteers to man a new food bank and helpline for people who need help during the coronavirus lockdown.

Badu Sports’ One Community Initiative involves a food bank, mental health and community support helpline and soup kitchen. The initiatives main focus is to assist people from BAME communities disproportionately affected by corona virus.

It has been working with five schools in some of the most deprived areas of Hackney to help feed families who are struggling.

Managing director of Badu Sports, Nana Badu, told the Gazette about the importance of getting young people to volunteer during the lockdown.

He said: “A key reason is that we know young people can often feel disengaged. We’re combatting this by engaging them in something worthwhile [because] it’s important we make them feel like they are the most important commodity in supporting their community.”

A young volunteer helps out at the food bank at Olympic Park's Here East. Picture: BaduA young volunteer helps out at the food bank at Olympic Park's Here East. Picture: Badu

The young volunteers from Badu Sports have been waking up early each morning and lining up to buy supplies for the food bank and for vulnerable people in their areas.

Nana remembers when he asked if his young volunteers would like to help people during the crisis.

He told the Gazette: “They looked at me like I was silly, basically, why was I even asking? And said ‘Of course we’ll be there’.”

The founder of Badu Sports says the biggest thing in setting up its One Community Initiative is making sure things aren’t being done to the communities they serve but with them.

Their work focuses largely on people within BAME communities who might struggle to get help from local authorities due to language barriers, no recourse to public funds, unsettled immigration statuses and a lack of trust.  Picture: BaduTheir work focuses largely on people within BAME communities who might struggle to get help from local authorities due to language barriers, no recourse to public funds, unsettled immigration statuses and a lack of trust. Picture: Badu

Nana says it’s important to build trust and reach out to people as it’s not easy to ask for help or even fill in the forms often needed to access support.

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Someone with an unsettled immigration status, no recourse to public funds or difficulties speaking English may not only have difficulties accessing vital services but also with trusting local authorities.

Nana says people call the helpline for many different reasons and the Badu community is using it to inform their response while allowing personalised support for families who call in.

The The "One Community" initiative also hosts an instagram live Saturday morning fitness session with 210 viewers joinig in each week to keep young people engaged during the lockdown. Picture: Badu

The company has also made sure to keep up its sport sessions online.

Call the Badu helpline from 11:30am-9.30pm on 07494906206

To support Badu Sports’ One Community Initiative visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/onecommunity

To contact Badu Sports click here

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The young volunteers have been waking up early, sometimes at 5am, to line up and buy food for people who might struggle to go food shopping during the pandemic. Picture: BaduThe young volunteers have been waking up early, sometimes at 5am, to line up and buy food for people who might struggle to go food shopping during the pandemic. Picture: Badu

For the latest coronavirus news from Hackney and across London follow our live blog here, visit our corona virus page, or join our Facebook group here.

Or to find more groups, networks and organisations like this in Hackney providing support during the Coronavirus lockdown visit our There With You Essential List.

The One Community initiative has delivered 277 food baskets and support over 600 individuals the majority of which are from the BAME community. Picture: BaduThe One Community initiative has delivered 277 food baskets and support over 600 individuals the majority of which are from the BAME community. Picture: Badu


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