Photographer captures community lifelines in Hackney during Covid pandemic

Volunteers from Hackney charity Children With Voices sort supplies at one of its food hubs. 

Hard working volunteers from Hackney charity Children With Voices sort supplies at one of its food hubs. - Credit: Grey Hutton

A local photographer has been capturing Hackney organisations and people looking out for each other during the coronavirus pandemic.

Grey Hutton’s Community Lifelines project began during the first lockdown when he started shooting portraits of mutual aid volunteers and members of grassroots community groups in the borough.

As he delved deeper, he uncovered a vast and diverse network of assistance, community foodbanks and services ensuring people in need in Hackney did not go hungry, without care or support.

Grey told the Gazette: “A lot of the people were doing this before [the pandemic], but I think everyone has had to upscale to a mass extent, slightly adjust or alter what they were doing to meet the needs for people they are helping out.

“It’s quite admirable the way people have just kind of got to it.”

Woman sorts through donated baby clothes and resources.

Paediatric nurse Beautine Wester at the E5 Baby Bank based in Clapton Adventist Church. - Credit: Grey Hutton

The project has taken Grey across Hackney, where he documented the support given to diverse communities hit hard by coronavirus.

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“The most amazing thing about these organisations is that they are there for everyone, they are so inclusive. There are all sorts of people from different backgrounds and ethnicities all helping each other and coming together. It’s a heart-warming story and one of a lot of struggle,” Grey said.

He hopes the project will highlight the support available and volunteers putting in “a huge amount of time".

Ari Feferkorn prepares some kosher meals at home for Jewish Patients in Hospital.

Ari Feferkorn prepares some kosher meals at home with his wife in April. He started Bedside Kosher, a free home cooked meal service for Jewish patients in hospital and is supported by volunteers in the community. - Credit: Grey Hutton

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The photographer added: “There are also these incredible strong protagonists at the centre of all these organisations and a lot of them have been doing this for a long time and are really well established within their communities.

“So I applied for funding from National Geographic, who had a grant for journalists covering Covid-19 within their community, and it got accepted.”

Grey moved to Hackney in 2019 after living in Berlin, Germany, for almost a decade.

Volunteers from Hackney organisations Connecting All Communities carrying food supplies for meals for the community. 

Volunteers from Hackney organisations Connecting All Communities carrying food supplies for meals for the community. - Credit: Grey Hutton

He plans to take photos of more volunteers and community groups as well as those affected by the pandemic.

The photographer hopes to organise an outside exhibition in the borough with Hackney Council's help. 

The Hackney Gazette has teamed up with photographer Grey Hutton to tell the stories of organisations and people photographed over the coming weeks.

The first to be featured in this weekly series will be Hackney charity Children With Voices

To learn more, visit

Hatzola technician Dovy Sternlicht sits in one of the ambulances at the end of a day.

Hatzola technician Dovy Sternlicht sits in one of the ambulances at the end of a day. “Covid-19 didn’t read the textbook” he told Grey Hutton. - Credit: Grey Hutton

A woman with tattoos poses for a portrait.

Photographer Grey Hutton's project began when he started taking portraits of Mutual Aid volunteers in the borough. - Credit: Grey Hutton

READ MORE: Thousands of Christmas meals delivered by Woodberry Down food hub

READ MORE: Food charity continues to serve free meals to Hackney residents in lockdown

READ MORE: Hoxton community kitchen’s mission to reduce waste and feed the hungry

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