Volunteer kitchen produces 900 meals a day for homeless

Tue, 31/03/2020

A kitchen set up in the head office of Westminster City Council is producing 900 meals a day for homeless people being looked after by the authority.

Two meals a day are being produced for 450 residents – either rough sleepers now in hotel rooms, or those with specific issues like mental illness in hostel places.

The meals are made on the 19th floor kitchen and then taken to residents by volunteers based at City Hall. The company behind the mammoth catering effort is Unity Works, an organisation supporting people with learning disabilities.

They are being supported by Chelsea Football Club’s first team, which has made a generous donation to Westminster City Council to contribute to the cost and distribution of the 900 meals.

McDonalds has also offered its fresh food from all its Westminster outlets, including lettuce, tomatoes and milk, to use in the nutritional food parcels.

Cllr Rachael Robathan today saw the Unity staff and volunteers at work and helped to pack some food parcels.

Cllr Robathan said: “The volunteers and employees helping at Unity Kitchen are just one example of the fantastic groundswell of support we have had from local people in Westminster.

“They are working flat out every day to get meals to more than 400 people who otherwise might struggle. The Unity Kitchen is running from breakfast to dinner and I was grateful to have the opportunity to thank everyone involved.”

“These are incredibly tough times for everyone, but residents in Westminster should know they are not alone, and we are there to support them.”


Notes to Editors

Support for the most vulnerable

  • Around 1,400 people have now volunteered to help us cope with Covid-19.
  • In eight days, we have provided 297 hotel places for rough sleepers – the majority have been sourced in Westminster; a further 30 are in a hotel nearby. Our outreach teams have been out talking to rough sleepers in very difficult circumstances. But we have been determined to ensure they get the best protection possible from Covid-19
  • We have just opened a hub – or a special centre – in north Westminster. It has an initial list of around 180 residents who are on the shielded list - those with the most serious underlying conditions. It is run by five council staff though we have volunteers coming in.  The hub will again concentrate on food delivery.

Other ways business is helping

  • McDonalds is offering fresh food from all its Westminster outlets to pick up and distribute - lettuce, tomatoes and milk – which will be used in the meals for the homeless and by the foodbanks.
  • Hilton London Metropole is delivering food to the North Paddington Foodbank
  • London Black Cab drivers are ferrying rough sleepers to hotel places
  • The New West End Company, representing 600 major retailers, is asking its members to loan parking spaces for key workers and donate personal protection equipment like face masks, gloves, overshoes and aprons.
  • The Duke of Westminster has made a £2m donation to help vulnerable people, and separately Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has given £250k to the London Community Foundation appeal.
  • The Grosvenor estate has waived rent for the next quarter for independent and vulnerable businesses in Westminster, and for 26 charities that rent office space from us along with the Westminster Foundation.
Last updated: 31 March 2020