With the incredible news that Tower Hamlets charity, Women’s Inclusive Team, has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, in Volunteers' Week, Becs Marshall, from Poplar HARCA, shares her experience of working with their staff and volunteers during the pandemic.
“Bringing our local community together is the most important thing Women’s Inclusive Team (WIT) does. Not just within their group of volunteers and partners, but also the people they support, who are a true cross section of the Tower Hamlets community.
By working together for the same people and the same purpose, Women’s Inclusive Team are steadily chipping away at financial, cultural, racial, gender and religious barriers. The really big issues. And they do it, not only by using the wide ranging expertise of their volunteers and staff, but by approaching people with compassion, positivity, warmth and friendliness, without judgment.
This skill continues to have such an incredible impact on our community, including on me personally.
I will never forget how WIT helped the Linc Community Centre and provided a community kitchen at our St Paul’s Way Centre, at the height of the pandemic.
Early on, the staff teams who run the centres were thinking ‘What can we do to help our community with the resources and staff we have?’. Like so many people, some of our colleagues were furloughed, isolating or unwell. From ringing around local people, and talking to those who were coming in, it was immediately obvious that our community was in a really, really bad way. We knew a food bank was desperately needed but we just didn’t know where to begin. And then, suddenly, Poplar HARCA’s partnership with WIT happened.
They were looking for somewhere to establish a food provision. We had the space to provide one, and so we came together. None of us knew exactly what to do and every one of us was going through our own stuff at this point. Lots of our community had lost jobs and were scared about getting sick. There was so much uncertainty. But WIT rolled their sleeves up with such a strong sense of direction, they made us feel anything was possible.
Without WIT, the food bank at the Linc Community Centre Centre and the community kitchen at the St Paul’s Way Centre just wouldn’t have happened. They allowed us to do our my jobs and to support our communities, at a time and in a way in which it was needed the most.”
If you, or someone you know, needs any of the support highlighted in this blog, you can contact:
Find more on what else our community centres have on offer for everyone in Poplar.
Read more about the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service