Many of our schools and charity partners have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to continue to deliver their services and support vulnerable members of the community.
We have connected charities and schools with hotels, venues and offices, distributing surplus food, clothing and toiletries and established a virtual volunteering series through our Community Programme.
Whilst the government guidelines to work from home may limit what you can do, there are still plenty of ways we can support our local community.
COVID Kindness in Marble Arch
COVID-19 is undoubtedly having severe implications on our businesses and charity partners alike, however the following examples of care and generosity highlight the strength of the Marble Arch community:
- With the help of our Street Team, The Marriott Marble Arch Hotel donated 24 cartons of fruit juice to local women’s shelter, The Marylebone Project on Tuesday 23 February. The juice will be shared between the charities 112 residents.
- Multiplex Marble Arch Place donated eight conference chairs to the North Paddington Foodbank on Monday 25 January. The chairs will be used to furnish the charities new permanent office space.
- Hilton London Metropole were back at the North Paddington Foodbank on Friday 8 January, this time donating 250 eggs to support local residents experiencing food poverty.
- Multiplex Marble Arch Place also donated 90 pairs of socks, 90 units of underwear and 30 sleeping bags to local homeless charity the West London Mission in December.
- Marks and Spencer generously donated 36 chairs and nine tables to two local charities on Wednesday 11 November. Both the Connection at St Martin’s and the Westminster Society have used to the furniture to assist with social distancing.
- Stylus Media donated over £300 worth of surplus office equipment to local community partners on Tuesday 10 November. The Marylebone Project, North Paddington Foodbank, The Westminster Society and Christ Church Bentinck C of E Primary all benefited. Donations included office plants, disposable table wear, artificial Christmas trees and three months worth of tea and coffee supplies.
- With help from the Marble Arch Street Team, Gail’s Seymour Place Bakery have been donating surplus food to local women’s shelter The Marylebone Project three evenings per week since September. Please see here for the latest community article.
- On Friday 3 July, Waitrose Edgware Road donated 12 bags of essential toiletries to the Passage, a charity that helps homeless people transform their own lives. The donations will be used to support Westminister’s shower projects, which will offer rough sleepers the opportunity to access warm showers and fresh clothing.
- Tesco Edgware Road donated essential toiletries to Westminster’s COVID donation hub for rough sleepers on 15 June. Based in Knightsbridge, the donation point was being used to collect items such as clothing, toiletries and entertainment (puzzles, crosswords and books), for vulnerable individuals being housed during the first COVID outbreak.
- Marble Arch food hall, Green Valley donated fresh meals in March and April to essential NHS staff at St Mary’s Hospital.
- Hilton London Metropole donated 100 chocolate Easter eggs to the students of King Solomon Academy on Thursday 9 April. King Solomon Academy is one of the designated schools in Westminster staying open to support the children of essential workers.
- The Grosvenor Victoria Casino donated over £3,500 worth of their restaurant produce to local charity the Westminster Society on 24 March.
- Hilton London Metropole donated over 30 boxes of food to North Paddington Food bank and 1000 eggs to the families of the Westminster Society on the week commencing 23 March . You can see a video of Chef Russell encouraging other hotels to get behind this cause and donate extra produce during the COVID-19 outbreak.
IT and Tech support
Monday 23 and Wednesday 25 November saw two McDonald’s colleagues host virtual IT support sessions for Open Age North Westminster. The volunteers helped build confidence amongst elderly residents adjusting to the increased need to use technology over the festive period. The sessions covered how to use Zoom and access social media to keep in touch with friends and family.
Virtual Zoom Quizzes
Two Stylus Media colleagues hosted a Zoom quiz for five Neighbourcare service users on Friday 29 May. Quiz rounds included ‘How Well Do You Know Our European Neighbours ‘ and ‘Name That Classic British Pudding’.
Telephone Discussion Groups
- Marble Arch companies, Hilton London Metropole , Stylus Media and HBL Bank have collectively hosted 12 ‘Telephone Discussion Groups’ since the start of April . These ongoing sessions are run for elderly members of the community, in partnership with local charity Neighbourcare. Discussion topics have included future holiday destinations, favorite areas in London and top tips for self isolating.
- The Marble Arch BID has also been supporting furloughed colleagues to get involved with the the community programme from a personal capacity- two such volunteers hosted our first discussion session on Thursday 2 April.
- Two colleagues from pharmaceutical company Advanced Accelerator Applications led virtual careers talks to thirty Y11 students at King Solomon Academy. The sessions took place on Wednesday 3 February and included an overview of the volunteers roles and why they chose to work in the pharmaceutical industry.
- In January and February 2021, Multiplex will be providing two weeks virtual work experience for 30 Year 12 students from Westminster Kingsway College. Students will be working alongside various departments and will be given the opportunity to lead a presentation on a specific construction themed task.
- Since the start of April, the Community Programme has seen 14 volunteers review 22 CVs for students at King Solomon Academy and Westminster Academy. Volunteers have been supporting Y10 students who had missed out on work experience placements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A huge thank you to colleagues from Advanced Accelerator Applications, Bunzl, Galliford Try and Stylus Media for all their efforts.
- With the help of eight local schools and one nursery the Marble Arch Community Programme has helped the Hilton London Metropole create a rainbow poster display full of inspirational messages for the 200 NHS workers staying in their hotel. The ‘Wall of Hope’ will be updated on an ongoing basis.
- The Victory Services Club opened up 60 of their 100 bedrooms to support essential workers in April.
- Hilton London Metropole have lent one of their fridges to St Mary’s Hospital. The fridge will hold a hundred smoothies a week which Innocent are kindly donating to keep front line NHS staff refreshed. A huge thank you to First Mile for lending one of their recycling vans and a driver to transport the fridge.
- Stylus Media have re-purposed their office milk supply, continuing to support a local business by donating their usual order of 20L per week to the 11 senior residents of Crawford Place Alms House. The first delivery of many was made on Wednesday 1 April.
- Before having to temporarily close their doors the Montcalm Hotels Group provided NHS staff free accommodation in their Hyde Park International Hotel.
Support the community
Hold virtual careers talks, workshops and assemblies: Keeping students engaged in meaningful activity is a priority for teachers. Could you dial in and host a virtual assembly, seminar or workshop – talking to pupils about your career path, hobby or interest e.g. a country you have visited or a language you speak?
The North Paddington Foodbank: If you live in the Marble Arch area, have access to a car and would be willing to collect donations for the North Paddington Foodbank and drop off food parcels, please get in touch. The North Paddington Foodbank is particularly stretched at the present time as it continues to support those experiencing food poverty.
The Foodbank is also currently seeking part time (in person) volunteers who would be willing to be on standby and assist with the coordination and distribution of food parcels should they need extra support over the coming weeks. For more information, please contact Guy.
As local charities and schools continue to deliver their services, many are requesting support in the form of donations; both financial and for specific items. If you can help with any of the requests below, please contact Guy. We may be able to find local volunteers who could pick items up where required and drop them at charity partners.
- Mobile phones: Several local charities, particularly those that care for the homeless, are currently seeking donations of mobile phones. These would enable them to continue to communicate with their service users, monitor wellbeing and inform them of key information at this time.
- Laptops: A number of local schools are welcoming donations of second hand laptops to support their students and families needing to taking part in live virtual lessons over the next few months.
- Financial donations: Specific requests have been received from the Imperial Health Charity, West London Mission and North Paddington Foodbank, who are all seeking funds to enable them to continue their vital work. The Imperial Health Charity has set up a special relief fund to support the well-being of staff working at the five Imperial College hospitals, including St Mary’s in Paddington during the pandemic, and to support the needs of vulnerable patients. West London Mission have seen their running costs increase by £20,000 per week, as they seek to provide single accommodation, increased medical provision and hygiene facilities. Donations can be made here.
- Supplies for St Mary’s: Many of you understandably want to channel supplies direct to St Mary’s and other surrounding hospitals. The best starting point is to email details of your offer to a new appeals inbox that has been set up. A relevant colleague will then be in touch to follow up on your donation.
If you would like to get involved, please contact Guy