The dog-loving community of Primrose Hill has paired up with the Chalk Farm Foodbank to raise funds and support their Christmas lunch. Helen Sweeney, the founder of Primrose Hill Community Dogs, said “Tapping into the talented and compassionate neighbourly spirit of Primrose Hill, our aim is to raise awareness, and secure kind donations and funds to provide a better experience over the festive season for over a hundred families. Taking into account the foodbank needs at this time of year, we have created a calendar of initiatives; we are asking the community to come together and share some festive goodwill with those who really need it.”
The initiative of events includes a ‘Trolley Appeal’, in which individuals, families or businesses can donate a shopping trolley filled with non-perishable Christmas items, such as mince pies, toys, family games and clothing, to be donated to the foodbank. The foodbank is aiming to have at least a hundred full trollies donated in the month of December.
Each trolley will be gifted to a family who attends the Christmas lunch, which is being hosted on 22 December at the Salvation Army on Chalk Farm Road. The foodbank will provide a three-course meal, entertainment and gifts to a hundred people. The entertainment line-up includes pianist Merv De Peyer, and soft drinks will be provided by local pub The Princess of Wales.
Throughout December the foodbank will also be hosting a pop-up dog foodbank, offering treats, food, bedding and toys for the pets of clients. Donations of both new and outgrown or unwanted items are welcome. The foodbank also relies on volunteers in order to continue running, which could be a way to help out other than donating.
Adrienne McPherson, the manager of the Chalk Farm Foodbank, says that they have given food to over 5,500 people since opening in 2012. She says that the foodbank is for people in crisis, and it always aims to make sure that families and individuals will have follow-up help after receiving food. Adrienne’s connections with referral groups mean that she can assist in getting people to the right job centre so that they can find work, or in directing them to debt counsellors. She said: “We try to ensure that people are connected ? to a charity, to an organisation, or getting support from the council.”
Among the residents already supporting the initiative are journalists Andrew Marr and Jon Snow, animal-rights activist Meg Mathews, as well as Sylvie Jacobs, Eileen Barnes, Rachel Green, Frank Lipman, Lulu Hizami, Phil Stylianou, Sam Chaldwell-Smith, Margaux Poussin, Caroline Santi, Gary Ingham Hairdressers and Spa, Primrose Hill Pets, and the Primrose Hill Community Library. Humans are not the only ones helping out, though. The four-footed, fluffier locals from Primrose Hill Community Dogs are on board too, Gilbert, Mimi, Bailey, Oscar, Phoebe, Sukie, Bumble and Chile can be seen in the photograph.
Feedback on the scheme
- “We have an abundance of real grassroots around us here in Primrose Hill – let’s use them to give strong material support to the Dogs/Chalk Farm foodbank campaign.” – Jon Snow
- “We have been in Primrose Hill almost 10 years. As an independent pub, the community is at the heart of what we do. As soon as we heard about the food bank campaign we immediately said yes and are looking forward to working with the team” – Caroline Santi, Owner, Princess of Wales
- “The dogs are a huge part of Primrose Hill, such a great idea to champion our local food bank. The dogs bringing the community together for a great cause, I love that.” – Meg Matthews, Animal Rights Activist
- “Excellent idea, happy to support.” – Andrew Marr
- “Being part of the Community dogs gives me great pleasure, working with the food bank is a wonderful thing.” – Sylvia Jacobs ( Age 83)
The food bank is open on Thursdays from 10.30am-12.00pm, located at the Baptist Church on Berkley Road. It offers food packages based on a voucher referral scheme.
To get involved contact Adrienne at Chalk Farm Food Bank:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 483 3763.
You can contact Helen Sweeney at Primrose Hill Community Dogs: email@example.com
Article by Eliza Slawther
Photo by Rachel Green