Words by Helen Sweeney.
As we enter week twelve of lockdown, Primrose Corner/the Post Office has been acting as the Community headquarters, putting compassion before profit. They have been servicing the local area by continuing to run full postal services, sourcing essential hard-to-find items, delivering daily newspapers, and being a friendly face to chat to.
For locals in isolation, an online bank account has been set up. Drop-off points are at Primrose Hill Butchers, Anthony’s Deli and the Post Office, for non-perishable food items, toiletries and cleaning products.
Primrose Hill Butchers are supplying fresh eggs, bacon, sausages, and fruit and veg, with Primrose Hill Corner supplying fresh milk, bread and healthy snacks. Greenberry Cafe regularly drops off crowd-pleasing meals, including lasagne and shepherd’s pie. Home-bakers have been making delicious cookies, cakes and biscuits, delivered regularly along with a personalised drawing and inspirational message from local children.
Over the past few weeks of lockdown, Primrose Corner’s/the Post Office’s windows have been transformed into conscious art pieces showcasing local artists, giving them full creative freedom. Rafi (11) and Frida (9) painted ‘Oldfield Rainbow of Love’, Jennifer Louise Martin painted ‘Angelia’, Oldfield resident and one of the Post Office’s favourite customers. Adrian Hemming, Oldfield resident, painted ‘Wave for NHS’ and Pania from Hello Shenanigans created the rainbow balloon installations. All of this has been documented by local photographer Christina Jansen, who is taking over another window to showcase her brilliant pictures capturing Primrose Hill during the lockdown.
But their most impactful achievement by far has been in mobilising the kind and compassionate spirit of Primrose Hill to support the 249 elderly residents at Oldfield Estate. This is real grassroots community working at its best, most of the work done anonymously with a dog called Gilbert fronting the initiative. Zam Kesh, owner of Primrose Hill Post Office, said: “We miss our daily chats with our friends from Oldfield. Together with the community, we want to show we care and do all we can to support and keep our neighbours safe and healthy.”
When lockdown started, a WhatsApp group of core volunteers was set up, working in partnership with the in-house team at Oldfield Estate to identify urgent needs. To keep the residents safe whilst self-isolating, a free shop was set up in the building with the staff delivering shopping direct to the residents’ flats.
Additionally to supporting Oldfield Estate, the Post Office and Primrose Hill Butchers are working with the team at St Mary’s Youth Centre to provide much-needed fresh produce for local families in need.
As Primrose Hill starts to reopen, Zam’s main concern is that the community will continue to support our neighbours who need help.
Support The Work
To support the work, you can donate online at:
Markbase Ltd., Sort code: 09 01 56, Account
No: 21466484, Reference: Oldfield Shopping list.
For more information contact [email protected]
About Oldfield Estate
Managed by The Central and Cecil Housing Trust, Oldfield Estate sheltered scheme provides 249 self-contained studio flats for older people aged 55+. Some of the flats are suitable for wheelchair users and other residents with reduced mobility. The scheme aims to support independent living. The scheme was built in 1966 and is made up of three buildings: Jacqueline House, Carole House and Marion House.
Fitzroy Road is still a largely Victorian residential street, in the popular Primrose Hill conservation area. Residents find the scheme a great place to live, especially as some enjoy views over the Hill. They also value its convenient location, with good shops and transport links.
Photograph of Primrose Butchers by Christina Jansen