Heroes of London: Jean

#HeroesOfLondon is shining a light on the humans behind our small charities and the amazing – and vital – work they do in London's communities, during the cost-of-living crisis and every day. We spent the last month meeting just some of these local heroes. The stories you are reading are direct transcripts from our chats with them.

Meet Jean from Brixton Windmill Community Club.

During the pandemic we started to mill flour in the windmill with some of our volunteers... We used to deliver flour to Blenheim Gardens food bank,

My name's Jean and I've been a member of the Friends of Windmill Gardens for a long time. We were founded in 2003 and at that time we had three aims: to get the windmill restored – because it was on the English Heritage buildings at-risk register – to get the park improved (because it was awful here) and also eventually to get a building that we could use as an education centre for children coming to visit the windmill. But also to use it as a community centre and a visitor centre for people coming to visit the windmill.

So, I've been doing that along with lots of other local volunteers. We were an entirely volunteer-led organisation. More recently after the windmill was restored in 2010, the council had enough money to be able to build this new centre for us. Unfortunately, the opening was delayed because of the pandemic. But since it's opened, we've been trying to develop it as a community hub.

We do a number of activities here; we do lots of events in the park, we run a popup cafe and we applied for a grant to open a club, a weekly club for older people and local residents. Since May this year, we've been running what we call the Brixton Windmill Community Club for over 55s. We meet here every Thursday morning, and our target audience is quite tight. It's really, basically, the Blenheim Gardens estate. But it's growing and we expect it to grow more in the winter as people need to get out and about. To stay warm basically.

During the pandemic, and before that, we started to mill flour in the windmill with some of our volunteers. We've got another group of volunteers who are our millers and, during the pandemic, they did mill flour. We used to deliver flour to Blenheim Gardens food bank, and to other food banks all through the pandemic and to Annick, who also volunteers at the food bank.

We are all part of the local community.

To keep up to date with our Together for London cost-of-living programme, and particularly our #HeroesOfLondon, subscribe to our donor newsletter below.