Giving back

28 October 2014

One of the things we enjoy most at Urban Hope is watching young people we’ve worked with throughout childhood make really positive contributions to the community as adults. Maddie (pictured above, left) is a terrific example, we first met her when she came here with her friend Louisa (above right) over a decade ago, at the age of 10.

Today, Maddie is a Philosophy student at Kings and runs workshops at the Barbican teaching young people how to do film programming and events management. And just recently she’s found a way to simultaneously reduce food waste and help Urban Hope by encouraging her ex-employer Waitrose to donate unused food to us each week.

Here’s Maddie’s story:

“Louisa and I went along to girls’ club after we got a flyer at school in Year 6. It was just over the road from where we lived. Otherwise I wasn’t doing anything; we just used to play out on the street with people we knew. At Urban Hope we got to meet new people and because it was girls club we didn’t have to worry about yukky boys! We did baking, outdoor stuff, arts and crafts – and sometimes we just used to put music on and dance around.

I’ve been through quite a lot and Urban Hope was the one place I could turn to for help or advice. Or sometimes just a space that I can go, my house can be quite hectic but there I can be separate from all the chaos, no-one minds listening me to moan. I still pop in all the time.

It’s also given me a lot of opportunities. When I’ve wanted to try something Ben or Joy will know someone who I can help. But they’re really good at making me do it myself rather than them sorting it out for me. It’s given me more confidence and made me realise that it’s ok to approach people and ask if you can do stuff with them or if they can help you.

I read a story in the paper about Iceland taking two men to court for getting food from the bins. It really annoyed me because I’d worked at Waitrose while I was doing my A-Levels and I knew how much good food goes in the bin. So I went to Waitrose and suggested we could reduce the food waste by giving some of it to Urban Hope, and its sister project The Manna. And they were happy to do it via a scheme they have called Community Matters. I feel a lot better knowing that the food is going to people that actually need it."

Could you spare an hour now and again on a Wednesday evening to pick up food donations from Waitrose in the Barbican and bring them to Urban Hope where they will be cooked and eaten by young people at our evening drop-ins? Please email if so.

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