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Broadway Market soup kitchen appeals for cash and helpers as demand soars

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 May 2017

Volunteers from Tesco prepare and serve food on a Sunday afternoon at Storehouse. Picture: Polly Hancock

Volunteers from Tesco prepare and serve food on a Sunday afternoon at Storehouse. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

The demand on some charities fighting Hackney's chronic homelessness problem has left them struggling to cope.

Meg Hillier visits Pastor Errol Francis at Storehouse on her campaign trail. Picture: Polly HancockMeg Hillier visits Pastor Errol Francis at Storehouse on her campaign trail. Picture: Polly Hancock

Storehouse, which is part of Regent’s Chapel in Broadway Market, has been helping Hackney’s homeless, unemployed and vulnerable since 2010.

In that time, Storehouse’s Sunday soup kitchen has served more than 1,800 meals – but according to founders Errol and Patsy Francis, need in the borough is continuing to soar.

The number of people coming through Storehouse’s doors has grown tenfold since 2010 – a reminder that Hackney has the third highest level of homelessness in London.

Pastor Errol told the Gazette Storehouse always tries to find new ways to help its visitors.

Volunteer Malcolm Hoxey collects empty dishes at Storehouse. Picture: Polly HancockVolunteer Malcolm Hoxey collects empty dishes at Storehouse. Picture: Polly Hancock

“In February 2016, we decided to see if we could do more by helping users find work placements,” he said.

“We approached the Prodigal Caribbean restaurant in Wells Street, which has been supplying the soup kitchen with free food for a number of years, to see if they would take on some of our users on a part-time basis.”

As a result of the “Path Plan Project”, the restaurant has employed three people from Storehouse up to now, and another two have found work with an Asian sauce manufacturer in Bow.

In another new project, Pastor Errol and Patsy have been trying to employ music to help the soup kitchen’s users and there’s now a Storehouse Reggae gospel band.

One user, Dennis Bramble, said: “Errol is always helping everybody. He’s even been trying to get me time in a recording studio so I can do something with my music.”

But with new faces appearing at Storehouse every week, a foodbank service in addition to the soup kitchen, a counselling service, the Path Plan Project and not to mention the band, Errol and Patsy have their hands full and are once again turning to the “fantastic” people of Hackney to help out.

Anybody is invited to join the diverse crew of volunteers already helping keep the soup kitchen and foodbank running. And Errol and Patsy are urgently seeking donations to the tune of £10,000 to train up extra volunteers and open Storehouse more often.

Find out more about the appeal or add a donation here.

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