The Kingsmead Estate in Hackney has struggled with high levels of youth violence over the past few decades. The area is also experiencing further struggles due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have lost their jobs and are forced to remain inside, making getting access to food more difficult.
Joyclen Brodie-Mends has worked with the youth in the community for more than eighteen years and wanted to provide more support during this difficult time. So, she set up a community food shop through her organisation Rise 365, and encourages youth in the area to volunteer.
“It’s something engaging and meaningful to do in their communities and gets them off the estates,” Joyclen said to MyLondon. “Young people are usually associated with crime and negativity. We want to empower them and show there is nothing off-limits for young people.”
One person involved in the project is 26-year-old Marvin. He spoke about how the project has helped him and others stay on the right track.
“I’ve lived on the estate my whole life. I’ve seen it change from a bad place you couldn’t even walk through and a lot of crime involved,” Marvin said. “Joyclen played a big part in my life, taking me away from that road. I’ve seen friends go down the bad path. I didn’t want to go down that path.”
The community food shop has around 20 teenagers who help source the food from wholesalers, package the food, and deliver it to people in the area. The organisation distributed a total of 30,000 hot meals in 2020. The distributed foods include pasta, fruit, rice, oil, vegetables, and meat for five pounds, which goes back into the shop’s funding.
Rise 365 previously qualified for government funding, but now the organisation relies on fundraising to keep it active. To donate to Rise 365, visit here.