Residents of HMP Belmarsh have donated to the Royal Greenwich Community Hub, which Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) delivers on behalf of the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
The Community Hub has been in operation since March 2020 to support Greenwich residents with the impacts of Coronavirus.
CACT has received over 100,000 calls from local residents over the last year, who needed support for a variety of different things, from emergency food deliveries to prescription collections or just for a chat through one of the Community Hub's befriending calls.
In December 2020, HMP Belmarsh, based in Woolwich, got in touch with the Hub, as prisoners were keen to make donations to support those who really need it.
Rachel Gill, Custodial Manager at HMP Belmarsh, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought havoc on all our lives, whoever we are, and has made it difficult for us not to feel and be negative. Although the impact of this cannot be minimised, those actions which create change for the better become all the more important.
“A resident of HMP Belmarsh came up with the idea to help the wider community, and staff helped them to make it become a reality, with many other residents wanting to donate from their minimal funds... to help CACT make up care parcels and assist those in need in the wider community.
“Residents have been giving generously and enthusiastically; since December, we’ve had four collections and one House block has so far raised over £300.
“In the last 12 months they have been subject to tightened restrictions and lockdowns, often resulting in them spending the majority of their day behind their cell door, unable to address their offending behaviour, to socialise, to see family with any regularity, and many other privations.
“Their kindness and generosity has benefited not only those who receive the care parcels, but the residents themselves. They have been able to tap into their need to give and to care, which is invaluable.
“Enabling the residents at HMP Belmarsh to show compassion to those in need has offered encouragement, positivity and a community spirit in this strange, unprecedented, and tumultuous time.”
Steve Hicks, Health Improvement Manager at CACT, said:
“It has been great to receive such kind donations from the staff and inmates at Belmarsh. The residents of the Royal Borough of Greenwich have really benefitted, as it has helped us be able to continue to offer emergency food parcels.”
If you, or anyone you know in the Royal Borough of Greenwich needs support from the Community Hub, call 0800 470 4831 (Monday to Saturday, 8:30am to 6pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.