The Warm Soup Club

Many thanks to the lovely volunteers, for a warm welcome and delicious food.

The price of fresh food rose to a record 13.3% in December. While some Londoners may have simply tightened their belts, for the 28% of Londoners living in poverty, this could mean going days without fruit and veg.

In an unequal city like ours, we knew just what these rising prices would mean for our most marginalised communities. It’s a huge part of the reason we launched our Together for London fund with food as a top priority. So, while it came as no surprise that organisations like The Trussell Trust distributed over 2.1 million food parcels throughout 2021-22, we had faith that our community would step up this winter – and they did. From October-November 2022, we received over 650 applications for Round 1 of our emergency cost-of-living funding. Of these, we were able to fund 104 incredible community projects by December, 52% of which were centred on food.

Projects like Mortlake Community Association’s Warm Soup Club. Back in November, they told us that their members – many of whom are over 75, live alone and are on low fixed incomes – were extremely worried about how they would make ends meet over winter. Their answer? The Warm Soup Club – a warm bank offering people a heated space where they can share a mug of soup, slice of cake, cup of tea and socialise with others, as well as somewhere they can receive free, impartial benefits advice and signposting to other local services. The £9,200 grant they received in December will cover staffing and venue costs, additional heating costs and – importantly – cooking ingredients and materials for the next 6 months.

We are incredibly grateful for your support. Our Warm Soup Club project has been very popular and the local community and visitors really appreciate this service. It could not be possible without your support.

They kindly shared their story and how this vital, emergency funding will make a difference to the older, isolated Londoners they support.

Mortlake Community Association (MCA) is very grateful to The London Community Foundation for awarding us the grant to support our Warm Soup Club project. We have set up this project to benefit older and isolated people and those who live on low and/or fixed incomes. Many people in our community have expressed their concerns about the cost-of-living crisis, particularly rising food and energy prices. For some, it will be a choice of eating or heating.

Early on in the crisis, we established a new warm, social meeting place to support people and help to address their worries. We operate twice a week Wednesday and Thursday at lunch time. We offer a home cooked, nutritious soup and pudding as well as teas and coffees. We also provide magazines, newspapers, books, puzzles, and games. For children, we offer colouring books, books and toys. In addition we have laptops if people want to check their emails or browse on the internet.

Since we opened our doors in November 2022, we have welcomed over 500 visits from over 115 separate individuals. We have new people coming through our doors on a weekly basis. Some have become regular attendees and most have made at least one new friend as result of their visit. One visitor said: “I appreciate the caring, welcoming people. Food is amazing.”

The funding received from The London Community Foundation will sustain this project for the next 6 months and help us to cement our role in the local community to bring people together.

It is inspiring small, local community organisations like Mortlake Community Association that the most excluded turn to for trust and support. And it is these local community organisations we, in turn, need to support to make the most difference here in London. Show your solidarity today – find out how you can support a project like the Warm Soup Club in your area.

A grid of four photos showing people at a community centre sitting around a table and smiling at the camera