In the first phase of the Livery Kitchens Initiative (LKI), three Livery kitchens (Grocers, Drapers and Merchant Taylors) and a City caterer (Party Ingredients) delivered just over 34,000 individually packed meals to NHS staff.
These were in the COVID restricted areas at the Barts, Royal London and Newham University hospitals between mid-April and the end of July. Some £200,000 was raised by 32 Livery companies and individuals in support of this first phase. Just under half of this remains in reserve should the NHS need LKI’s support at some point during this second surge of the virus. So far there have been no calls from the Barts Health NHS Trust for such support.
Now in the twelfth week of it’s second phase, the LKI has been supporting eight north and east London communities through the charity City Harvest since late August. At present our own and the Fishmongers’ kitchens are providing 1400 meals per week to these communities in rotation at least once, often twice, a week. As before, all meat is halal and this is much appreciated by the largely migrant communities being supported.
From Mon 9th Nov, the Grocers’ kitchen will be rejoining LKI enabling meal production to increase to 2000 meals per week to a total of 14 north and east London communities in food poverty. The Drapers (£20K phase 1, £70K phase 2), the Fishmongers (£70K phase 2), the Grocers (£20K phase 1, £20k phase 2) and the Clothworkers (£20K phase 1, £15K phase 2) have put in sufficient funds to keep this second LKI phase going until early April next year. The Fruiterers Company is also supplying/donating 2,000 pieces of fruit a week as part of the initiative.
Additional funding from the wider Livery is now being sought to keep it going until late May by which point it is hoped the virus will be in abeyance or remission.
On 26th Oct, LKI representatives visited City Harvest’s Acton food distribution centre to see how it all works. Pre-lockdown, City Harvest was delivering 35 tons of surplus food to 300 charities and community groups throughout London. Since March this figure has more than doubled and on a number of occasions their output has increased to 100 tons a week. The number of those in food, work and time poverty has increased significantly since the beginning of the pandemic.
The LKI’s meals continue play a small but important part in supporting those in genuine poverty in London. The LKI now has the means to continue this provision up to and possibly beyond Easter 2021.