has shown community spirit from senior management to shop floor over the past year in the help it has given to Croydon Food Store. Last Christmas, Barratts provided a guarded storage unit for Croydon Food Store at a time when it had nowhere to keep donations. "When the Croydon Food Store got in contact with us we were pleased to offer our services as we're looking to support as many local charities as we can," said Lee Greenwood, project manager at Barratts. "The girls at the Croydon Food Store work so hard and do such good work. "The little we have done is nothing compared to them and it was motivating for us to see that."
A plucky volunteer that has made a real difference to the community despite facing problems of their own
Eighteen-year-old Brendan O'Donnell, from Thornton Heath was encouraged by his children's home to volunteer at a food bank and he has had a hands-on approach there from the beginning. At Christmas, Brendan went out into Croydon looking for people who might be alone and living on the streets. Brendan had brought three willing friends with him and he encouraged them to sit and talk with homeless people. "We are proud of Brendan," said his nominator Fatima Koroma. "We applaud his efforts to overcome childhood adversity and his acceptance of opportunities available to him to make a positive contribution to the community."
Fatima set up and runs the Community Food Store located in central Croydon. She is also a founding member of the Croydon Food Network launched by the council in 2012. She coordinates provision of three-day emergency packages to some of the most vulnerable families and individuals, referred to the food bank by both statutory and voluntary bodies (a mix of over 50 members). Having experienced food poverty herself Fatima was motivated to start volunteering four years ago in order to overcome the stigma of being unemployed and to help others avoid experiencing the same hardship. Her first senior role as a volunteer was as Chair of the Sexual Health and teenage pregnancy task group of the local Health Watch. This volunteering experience gave Fatima the skills and confidence to set up the food bank.
In total, Fatima can volunteer for as many as 45 hours each week in running the food store and in acting as a health watch representative on various committees. She is now talking directly with local MPs and Councillors by positively encouraging them to put food poverty high on the agenda.
Mears Group plc.
We would like to nominate Mears' employees for giving up their time, resources and energies to help us open the Community Food Store. They gave us materials and helped make the store a lot more habitable. They have helped with administration and offered their time to go and do supermarket collections. We have been really lucky to have their help. We would not have got this far without them and they have helped us from the initial stages. Mears has proved their corporate responsibilities in the community, by stepping in and helping the cause and their staff seem really willing to oblige.