Hundreds of volunteers in Lambeth have played an essential role throughout the pandemic and continue to make a huge contribution to the local community. Volunteers Week across the UK – which celebrates the work that millions of volunteers across the UK do to make a positive difference to the community – ends with the third of OCA’s weekend events, which is expected to help around 1,500 families or individuals, just like last week.
OCA Community Kitchen provide packages of donated surplus food to needy members of the Portuguese-speaking and Latin American communities in Lambeth every Saturday, working from the community space behind Lambeth’s Housing Offices in Kennington Lane.
OCA was officially established in Lambeth in March 2021, although founders Jose and Gaby had run an event in Southwark at the start of the pandemic a year ago, providing hot cooked meals to over 2,000 people in the Latinx community. They then moved onto working for the community out of a church in West Norwood, before starting this partnership with Lambeth Council.
Creating a new North Lambeth hub
Lambeth have been looking to create a new community hub for North Lambeth, based in the Kennington Lane (north area office) ground floor and Pedlars Acre Hall (behind it). They offered the site to OCA on a 12-week lease (including free wi-fi) to run a pilot Saturday foodbank. Lambeth is also helping to raise awareness of the events, with printing and distribution of invitation flyers to the local area and marking out social distancing measures.
Local needs, local services
The foodbank events will start to bring the local community into the space, helping Lambeth gain an understanding of local demographics and support needs that a community space can help to meet. The longer-term aim is for to work with other charitable organisations – and council services – and offer the community more, such as education including online and face to face English language classes. OCA hope to be able to add finance management, debt advice, jobs & skills and domestic abuse advice into the mix.
- OCA Community Kitchen are a fully registered Community Interest Company. See their website and for information on ways you can volunteer, fundraise or donate
- Follow OCA on Instagram and facebook
- Find out more about Volunteers Week