Boost for Tottenham charity bringing people together through food
A community food service providing healthy meals to hundreds of people in Tottenham can double the number of staff it employs – thanks to new funding.
The OK Foundation offers hot three course meals, takeaway food parcels and home delivery, alongside cookery classes and social activities including a knitting group.
The charity can increase its number of staff from five to 10, thanks to an £83,638 grant over five years from City Bridge Foundation – London’s biggest independent charity funder.
The driving force behind the charity is its chair, Christina Omideyi, who founded it in 2008 in memory of her late husband – organist and ordained minister Olusegun Kolade Omideyi.
She said: “Coming here makes a world of difference to people. Food is really important – it brings people together to socialise, unwind and make friends.
“Being able to come and just sit in the company of others and feel normal goes a long way, and it also helps to reduce the stigma people sometimes feel about using a service like this.
“It’s a great way of promoting community cohesion and it also keeps people healthy because they know when they come here they’re eating really good quality, healthy food.
“The funding from City Bridge Foundation has made a massive difference, especially as it’s over five years. It gives us the confidence to know we don’t have to worry about funding from month to month and year to year.”
The OK Foundation started out offering music and educational programmes but soon realised the social and health value of food, and now serves a varied menu reflecting Tottenham’s vibrant ethnic diversity.
It caters to around 500 people every week, among them 94 year-old Zac James from Tottenham who has been attending the food service for over three years.
He said: “The OK Foundation is my life. Without this service I would be lost. Thank you for everything you do – the food I receive is good quality. The cooked food lasts me a whole week. Thank you to everyone at the OK Foundation.”
City Bridge Foundation owns and maintains five bridges, including Tower Bridge, at no cost to the taxpayer, and awards funding of over £30 million a year to charities across London.
Its Chairman, Giles Shilson said: “Christina and her team have worked incredibly hard over the last 15 years to build the OK Foundation into an organisation that is right at the heart of the community.
“This funding will enable the charity to increase its staffing levels greatly and to provide healthy, nutritious food, good company and the health benefits these bring to hundreds more Tottenham residents.”