Over the Christmas of 2018, many tins of soup were donated to KTCC which prompted the opening of their food pantry in January 2019. Having this facility already set up in the building is what made it legal for them to stay open during even the first Covid-19 lockdown.
After going through various iterations of emergency support, KTCC have landed on 3 essential kits: The Clean Kit, The Essentials Kit and The Breakfast Kit. The idea behind this was to simplify and not overwhelm people with choice. Sarah expands, “It has been a really big journey of trying to find a way to give people dignity and choice in food, but not give people an overwhelming amount of choice. So it’s about curating some bags, which have good quality food in them and have a purpose. There’s the choice in the bags, but it’s not overwhelming.”
Coming across as friendly and welcoming is a key approach to how KTCC operates as they hope more and more people know about this support and would feel comfortable coming in asking for help. “One of the things I’m really aware of is the mindfulness of humans, and there’s a roll of the dice between me and someone on a very low income – living in a hostel with a couple of kids. It’s a roll of the dice. And that human approach is really important to us here.”
A call for more council services in Community Centres
To build on KTCC’s approach of providing varied support for residents, Sarah calls for council services to also be based in this space – somewhere which feels approachable and not intimidating to someone who is likely coming from a vulnerable place. “In a vulnerable situation, the idea of going to 5PS, the corporate headquarters for Camden and having to explain everything in a corporate environment is not right. Whereas if you can come to your local community centre, and have a cup of tea and hang out with plants, you’re going to be in a better place, it’s going to be a better experience. My call to Camden is we need to get more council services in community spaces, so that the services are for the people.”
Photo credits: Karishma Puri