Before the virus I used to run a free community club every Saturday for kids in Tottenham, teaching them languages, music, singing, poetry, art and craft, cookery skills and sharing the lunch that we cooked. Food was always a big part of the club. The meals we shared gave the kids a space to speak about any issues and barriers they were facing. We talked about how to deal with bullying and how to handle it if there was conflict in the streets. We tried to keep it a free space, not force them or make them feel like they were at school, but give them space to talk about anything.
Like me, almost all the families who attended the club are Black and like me, the majority are refugees, asylum seekers, have No Recourse to Public Funds, or are working on zero hours contracts with very low wages. I didn’t intend it to be only for black kids but in reality the system means that these families were the ones who needed support most. Black families face poverty and social cleansing in my community more than any other ethnic group. The club gave us a space to teach kids about our African cultures and Black history. As well as French, Spanish and Arabic, we taught them Bambara and Yoruba.
Now many of kids are stuck at home and many of their parents are still working long hours with no time to cook. Food prices are up and the parents still have to deal with bills because the government doesn’t want to do anything about rent.
The language club was giving the kids a meal every Saturday, and I want to carry on supporting them. We can’t sit down and share the food, but since the club was evicted from our community space I have been delivering food to their doors.
When I started the club four years ago, all the families were my neighbours in Haringey, but with the housing crisis and the social cleansing of the borough some of them are now living in six different postcodes of London. They are still part of the Language Club family and still have local connections to Haringey, so I want to continue supporting them too.
I’m asking for donations to help me do this now because when I’ve tried to get support from the council and from white people who run ‘community’ spaces, they make it difficult and pick and choose who they want to help. Everyone is using ‘Black Lives Matter’ now, but I want to ask if people are really using it because Black lives matter to them, or just for their own interests.
Over the past 4 years the Language Club has faced racism, discrimination, stress and challenges from Haringey Council. After starting the club in my own home, I was offered space in council buildings but was evicted twice. The second time I was told to leave at short notice because they said it wasn’t safe, even though there are still people living in that building. They said they would find somewhere else but they never did. This happened after they tried to find out confidential information about the families, including names, addresses and immigration status, and I refused to share this so as to protect the families’ privacy. After I refused, they evicted me.
The council like to use community groups for publicity to cover up their social cleansing, as long as those groups do what they want. I am Black and almost all the kids are Black kids but they never wanted to help. They used their Black staff members to tell me bad news, to make it seem like they weren’t using their power, authority and money against me. They tried to make me change the way I taught the club, and told me I should charge the families money for attending. Even when I explained that the most of the families are refugees, asylum seekers or have No Recourse to Public Funds, they didn’t care. I feel so hurt when I see these people using the Black Lives Matter slogan now when they never helped the community. They like to have one or two Black people on their leaflets to look diverse, but they don’t want to support projects where everyone is Black. They don’t want to scare the middle-class white people away from their ‘regeneration’ plans.
So far I have been doing this out of my own pocket, with the help of other women from my community to do the deliveries. Things are difficult for me too so I am trying to raise money to cover costs for the next 12 weeks. I am asking for donations to cover:
Food £100 per week
Packaging £20 per week
Fuel costs: £20 per week
COVID-19 hygiene supplies £50 total
I am asking for £2000 to cover these plus a small £30 amount for any unexpected costs.
I have a lot of experience cooking for large numbers - in 2018 I was a finalist in the BBC Food and Farming Awards because of my work with the language club and other community organisations such as the Welcome Kitchen. I have food hygiene qualifications and I have taken advice on how to package and deliver the food safely during the pandemic. I just need some donations to help me support my community.
DonationsSee top donations
- Sophie Wilson
- Camilla Cox
Organizer and beneficiary
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more