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People supported in the last 12 months
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Deliveries to housebound individuals

INFORMATION

Most frequent questions and answers

IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO AFFORD FOOD

The North Paddington Food Bank is now closed for collections so that we can focus on getting food to those in urgent need who do not have access to food or funds.

 

This has not been an easy decision, but due to the demands on our service and for the safety of customers and volunteers, we now have to insist that we only work using the system set out below and cannot give out food from Elgin Avenue.

 

If you need food and cannot afford to purchase, this can be arranged, please just follow these instructions. If you can afford food, please purchase it yourself so that these resources can be used on those that cannot:

 

If you have a referral: Your referral should come through to us via a form on this website. We will use this information to arrange a food delivery as soon as possible. If you only have a paper voucher, please ask the person who gave it to you to instead fill out an online form on this website.

 

If you do not have a referral: You need to send a request to your local council, who will either send you food themselves, or provide the information to us to make a delivery. They can also direct you to further support if needed.

 

Alternatively, if you have a support worker/key worker/adviser then you can ask them to refer you. You can also get a referral from any organisation/charity who is providing you with support.

 

Kensington and Chelsea:

 

You can contact the Covid-19 Hub by email at C19Hub@rbkc.gov.uk or call the dedicated line on 020 7361 4326. For more information, visit https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-advice-care-homes-clinically-vulnerable-and

 

Westminster:

 

westminsterconnects@westminster.gov.uk or phone  on 020 7641 1222 (8am to 10pm, 7 days a week).

 

Brent:

 

Call the helpline on 020 8937 1234 open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday or email coronavirus@brent.gov.uk

 

Please only go out for essential travel.

VOLUNTEERING

Due to an anticipated increase in demand and need for home deliveries, we are looking for more people to sign up to give some of their time to help in the local area. You can sign up using this google sheet (if you cannot access it, please fill out a volunteer interest form on the individual volunteering tab and we will add you to our weekly mailout).

Find the google sheet with more info here.

You can also join our volunteering Whatsapp group to receive updates and get involved with anything that is going on.

Connect to the Whatsapp group here

OTHER COMMUNITY BASED EFFORTS

We are happy to connect and coordinate with any other efforts going on in the local area. There is a tab on the google sheet linked above where you can add information for any activities that you are involved with, and email yann@npfoodbank.org.uk and cc info@npfoodbank.org.uk to start communicating with a view to working together more closely.

Please do not volunteer with us if you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms; have been in direct contact with someone showing such symptoms; or if you have any health issues that may make you more at risk to COVID-19 (eg. diabetes, high blood pressure)

DONATIONS

If you would like to help by contributing , we are primarily looking to build our capacity so that we have the ability to purchase our own stock as and when we need it, as well as increase our capacity in relation to staffing, volunteering, and transport.

This means that standing orders or one-off financial donations are the most effective way of helping. This can be done at www.npfoodbank.org.uk/donate 

Physical donations of items are also welcomed. The main way we can receive these is at WECH community centre, Selbourne House, 36a Elgin Avenue, London, W9 3AZ on Tuesdays between 5pm-7pm, Wednesdays between 8am-9am and 12pm-1pm and Friday 2.30pm-5pm. 

If you would like to donate at this time, or have to arrange another time, please contact info@npfoodbank.org.uk

If you would like to know what to donate, follow this link. (Please note that we can accept fresh fruit and veg donations on a Wednesday before 1pm)

If you are a support organisation looking to refer someone to our services, please use one of the “FOR REGISTERED REFERRERS ONLY” forms on the tabs below.

If your organisation would like to form part of a more collaborative effort to operate in the current climate, we would like to here from you. Please contact us at info@npfoodbank.org.uk

We believe that there should be steps put in place to adequately support people, even without there being a public health crisis. 

A number of people will be potentially affected by children not being in school; having reduced opportunities to work or other pressures brought about by illness and the efforts to mitigate its effects. This is to add to the large number of people who are already unable to adequately support themselves and their families due to issues with benefits, housing and a number of other problems.

Food aid is no adequate substitute for people having enough money, and people having enough money will be of greater societal benefit as they can spend more time and effort looking after themselves rather than having to seek support from organisations that are already stretched and inadequate to begin with.

There should also be a reliable and consistent stream of information, informed by science and best practice, which ensures that calm is maintained and the public informed. This will help reduce panic buying and issues with the supply of food and essentials to stores across the country, thus helping those who may be unable to afford to purchase large (or any) quantities of items at one time and may be adversely effected by current patterns of buying. This will help reduce the number of people who will need to turn to food aid and allow us to focus our efforts on those who are worst effected, if no other support is available.

Poverty and hardship has a compounding affect on public health risks, and it should be treated as a key area in the efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.

This being said, if there is a need, we will step up as we are needed, and look to build our capacity to both prepare for and respond to a rise of need and a change in the nature of these needs.

We would like this to be a collaborative effort with organisations that are also working in this environment, so that those with more skills and expertise can be utilised alongside our service to ensure that help is provided where it is required.

The North Paddington Food Bank is now closed for collections so that we can focus on getting food to those in urgent need who do not have access to food or funds.

This has not been an easy decision, but due to the demands on our service and for the safety of customers and volunteers, we now have to insist that we only work using the system set out below and cannot give out food from Elgin Avenue.

If you need food and cannot afford to purchase, this can be arranged, please just follow these instructions. If you can afford food, please purchase it yourself so that these resources can be used on those that cannot:

If you have a referral: Your referral should come through to us via a form on this website. We will use this information to arrange a food delivery as soon as possible. If you only have a paper voucher, please ask the person who gave it to you to instead fill out an online form on this website.

If you do not have a referral: You need to send a request to your local council, who will either send you food themselves, or provide the information to us to make a delivery. They can also direct you to further support if needed.

Alternatively, if you have a support worker/key worker/adviser then you can ask them to refer you. You can also get a referral from any organisation/charity who is providing you with support.

Kensington and Chelsea:

You can contact the Covid-19 Hub by email at C19Hub@rbkc.gov.uk or call the dedicated line on 020 7361 4326. For more information, visit https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-advice-care-homes-clinically-vulnerable-and

Westminster:

westminsterconnects@westminster.gov.uk or phone  on 020 7641 1222 (8am to 10pm, 7 days a week).

Brent:

Call the helpline on 020 8937 1234 open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday or email coronavirus@brent.gov.uk

If providing information over email, please also let us know Your name, number, address, the number of people in your household and any dietary requirements that you have.

Please also note that we may direct you to another source of help if it is appropriate to do so.

Please only go out for essential travel.

Click Here To Register as a Referrer

If you are registering and have a referral you want to make straight away, please do so and do not wait for a response from us, we will only contact you if there is a problem with the referral.

Click Here To Make A Home Delivery Request

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE ONLY CURRENTLY ABLE TO SERVE THE NORTH WESTMINSTER AREA.  

South Westminster, Brent and Kensington and Chelsea are all suitably served by other food aid services, please direct any requests for those areas to them. Brent, RBKC and Westminster all also have council referral processes that you can use which are detailed in ‘if you need to use the food bank’ tab.

Please fill out all of this form in order to provide all of the information needed. We can only provide a home delivery when the person cannot afford food, if they can afford food, please find alternative support using the council based services, the details for which are at the top of this page.

If you are passing on a request from someone you are not supporting directly, please only refer the person for 1 week, they will then need further referrals for further packages. 

If you are a support worker/adviser to the person being referred and have a more intimate understanding of their situation, you can refer them for more than 1 week.

If your referral needs our urgent attention, please follow it up with a call to 0207 266 3347 or an email to info@npfodbank.org.uk

If you need to follow-up with any further information, please email info@npfoodbank.org.uk:

Please see the COVID-19 update at the top of the page regarding volunteering.

Click Here To Complete Group Volunteer Survey

If you would like to volunteer with a group from your work/school/community organisation, please fill out the survey above after reading all of the information below:

forming the basis of our service, we then work with groups who would like to volunteer on a one-off/semi-regular basis. This supplements our volunteer numbers so that our core volunteers are not run off their feet every week and giving them opportunities to induct and supervise new volunteers. It also makes them able to carry out their roles under less pressure, whilst exposing new groups of people to the food bank environment, in the hope that they become more informed on the issues in their local area, which may motivate them to help us or another community organisation further.

Overall, bringing in groups, largely from locally based businesses, adds a new dimension to the food bank and creates an even more positive atmosphere in which to work and access support.

As well as this, we look to utilise the professional skills that these groups often bring with them, so we are able to organise problem-solving groups where a certain aspect or problem associated with running the food bank is explored and potential solutions discussed. These have often proven popular both with groups and the food bank, as it provides a different way for professionals to volunteer whilst giving some much-needed expertise and new thinking to the food bank.

Donations are welcome from volunteer groups, with financial donations being the best utilised, as they can be used to purchase the stock we know we need. Groups are also welcome to bring there own physical donations however.

The main volunteering options for groups are:

Distributions: Every Wednesday from 9am-1pm- Working with people using the food bank to put together packages that reflect their needs and preferences.

Collections: Most Thursdays 12-2pm or 4:30-6:30pm, as well as some Saturdays 12-6pm- Distributing leaflets in partner supermarkets to encourage food donations.

Cupboard sorting: Fridays 3pm-5pm- Sorting donations and the food bank cupboard in preparation for Wednesdays distribution, as well as potentially supporting some people collecting packages.

Problem solving/workshops: Organised individually by each group.

Volunteer Handbook

When you become a regular volunteer, you will be asked to sign a volunteer agreement, based on reading through our volunteer handbook, which is available to read here.

 

Home deliveries

We need volunteers to help us expand and improve our home delivery service. Find out more here.

Financial donations – small and large, regular and one-off – are the best way to support North Paddington Food Bank as they allow us to make our own purchases of items we need from suppliers and wholesalers. Such donations can be made here.

If you are a UK taxpayer you are eligible to claim gift aid on your donation, which increases the amount we receive by 25%, so please be sure to include it if you are eligible.

To find out more about why financial donations are more effective, read our physical vs financial donations tab below.

Donations of food and essentials are really appreciated and put to good use. Details on what to donate are at the bottom of this tab. First, here are a few options for making such donations.

BANKUET

Making a food donation through Bankuet means that a package of items that we have chosen will be delivered to us at a time that suits us.

You can arrange a Bankuet order here.

LARGE DONATIONS

If you have organised a collection at your school, place of work, worship or socialising and have a lot of items (basically too many to fit into a car), delivery can be prearranged with the manager through info@npfoodbank.org.uk. Usually, you will be directed to the WECH community centre on a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday (3pm-4pm, most preferable) afternoon.

Alternatively, they can be dropped off directly to our distribution on Wednesday morning, ideally before 9am.

REQUEST A PICK-UP

If you need your items collecting, please email info@npfoodbank.org.uk with a picture of the donations and information for collecting so that the manager can make arrangements for your donations to be picked up. It may take us up to a week to be able to collect donations.

ONLINE GROCERY ORDERS

If the donation is in the form of an online grocery order, please email info@npfoodbank.org.uk to agree a time and to get a mobile phone number to put on the order.

SMALLER DONATIONS

If you are able to carry your donations, or can fit them into a car (and don’t need a van), you can either follow the above instructions, or they can also be dropped off to the following locations:

WECH office between 9:30am-5:30pm Monday-Thursday and 9:30am-12:30pm on Fridays.

-Supermarket collection points, normally found after the tills: Waitrose, 38 Porchester Road, London, W2 6ES

-Sainsburys, Canal Way, Ladbroke Grove, London, W10 5AA

-Sainsburys Local, Station Concourse, Paddington Station, London, W2 1HB

-Sainsburys Local, 12a Sheldon Square, London, W2 6EZ

Items that are suitable and unsuitable for donation to the North Paddington Food Bank

Food donations make an important contribution to our service and suit a lot of donors who want to know that they are contributing to something that will suit a particular need. However, with the high levels of varied demand that we are currently experiencing, relying too heavily on physical donations raises a few issues when considered alongside the food banks operational and logistical capacity. This means that regular donations of as little as £2 per month are the most efficient, cost-effective and best way to support the North Paddington Food Bank.  

We currently distribute around 2,500-4,000 items per week. We have the budget to purchase around 800-1,000 of these (at a cost of between £250-£400). We would like to increase this amount so that it makes up around 60-70% of the items we distribute, still leaving a significant amount of our items distributed coming from physical donations. Please read on to see why we would like to take this approach:

 

FRESH FOOD

 

Physical donations

In short, we cannot receive fresh food donations unless they are delivered directly to our distribution on a Wednesday morning, as we do not have the storage capabilities. 

Regular financial donations

Having the budget will mean that we can purchase fresh food as and when it is needed (for distributions, home deliveries and emergency referrals) from local grocers on Harrow road. This will provide a more nutritionally balanced package whilst also meeting more of the specific dietary requirements of people using the food bank.

 

LOGISTICS

 

Physical donations

Whilst many donors kindly drop donations off to us, it is not always possible. We do not own a vehicle and have one full-time member of staff (the manager), with some volunteer time to assist. This means that, with the use of a taxi or Zipcar, the manager will move most donations themselves, which is no problem for a few donation points, but risks becoming a time-consuming task if required collections are too many.

Collections then have to occur at suitable times for those donating the items. As we only have access to our food cupboard twice a week, donations cannot always be put straight into storage, which means we have to put them in our office (where we are kindly hosted by housing association WECH) and then move them again when we are able to get into the cupboard, increasing the time taken to sort the food.

Regular financial donations

With the correct amount of funds, we are able to purchase the items we need either from a wholesaler or supplier and delivered to us at a time we know that we have access to our cupboard and when there are volunteers to sort them for distribution.

 

REGULARITY

 

Physical donations

There are periods of the year in which we will receive large amounts of donations that more than meet the needs of the people using the service, namely Easter, the harvest festival period and Christmas. Whilst this increases the logistical pressures explained above further, it is manageable and worthwhile over the short periods that they are coming in.

The issue arises with the fact that outside of these periods, physical donations do not meet the needs of the service, particularly now, as demand continues to grow month on month, year on year.

This means that we need to rely on other means to get the large number of items required during quieter donation periods.

Regular financial donations

Having a consistent, higher regular income to cover the purchase of items will mean that we are able to provide the items required year round whilst continuing to use holiday periods to receive larger donations from our supporters.

 

RELIABILITY AND QUANTITY

 

Physical donations

Whilst we do have our shopping list to provide information on what to donate, and what is physically donated will go to good use, we do not always get exactly what we need at the correct times.

Physical donations will always have larger numbers of certain items alongside those that can be used that week, which can serve to take up our limited storage space.

Alongside this, some items that we regularly need are not donated as often, as they may not be available in the places we receive donations, or they are too expensive. An example of this is gluten or dairy free food products. Whilst only a small amount of these items are needed, when we do not have them it can make a big difference to the person receiving the package.

It is also the case that we will receive unsuitable items (already open, out of date, without clear instructions etc), which cannot be used. All items also require date checking and counting, which can be time-consuming and impractical considering the access restrictions we have on our storage space.

Finally, the home deliveries we make require special purchases even when we have large amounts of physical donations coming in due to the specific, usually medically based, needs of the person receiving the package.

With this considered, physical donations will continue to play an important part of what we use as it can provide some much appreciated variation on what we distribute. In order to maintain the stock levels of what we need however, financial donations can play a big role.

Regular financial donations

If we are able to use some of the resources that go into physical donations, we can make sure that the items that we bring in are those that we know we need based on the needs of the people using the service at the time that they are needed.

We know the approximate amount of each item we use on a weekly basis and the specialist items that it is important to have consistent access to, whilst items being ordered by us are already date checked and quantities already recorded, saving time, resources and reducing the chance of having unsuitable items.

 

COST-EFFECTIVENESS  

 

Physical donations

We realise that around our area and the areas that donors purchase items from may be smaller or more expensive stores, where the items being donated could be brought for cheaper and in larger quantities elsewhere, which has an effect on the amount of items we end up getting donated to us.

Regular financial donations

With regular funds, we are able to purchase more items at a lower cost from places identified by us as being affordable with good quality. This means that all of the resources being put into the food bank are being used as efficiently as possible to serve as large and diverse a group of people as possible.

You can give a one-off donation or a sign-up to donate monthly through www.npfoodbank.org.uk/donate. If you are a UK taxpayer you are eligible to claim gift aid on your donation, which increases the amount we receive by 25%, so please be sure to include it if you are eligible.

Sessions are every Wednesday, 9:30am-12pm + 1:30pm-3.30pm

The food bank is open on Wednesday mornings from 9:30 am for registration, with distribution normally starting at 10:00 am. The session finishes at 12:00 pm, so last arrivals should ideally be 11.45am.

The second session begins at 1pm and finished at 3.30pm, so last arrivals should be 3.15pm.

For the session, you should come to the WECH community centre, Selbourne House, 36a Elgin Avenue, London, W9 3AZ

Outside of distribution hours, people dropping off donations or collecting emergency referrals should come to the WECH office, on the second floor of the address above. The office is open 9:30am-5: 30 pm Mon-Thur and 9:30am-12: 30 pm on Friday. Emergency collections should have times pre-agreed so that the packages can be prepared.

When talking to someone who may not have been in a food bank before, the same questions or assertions will often come up. I thought it would be useful therefore to answer (in relation to North Paddington food bank at least) them here rather than bury them in among the rest of the information you can find on this website, although to get a full picture on how the food bank works and how best for you to engage with it you should have a look through the rest of the content available..

What are the items that you most need donating?

This is more of a case what we do not need donating as much. See below for a categorisation of what we need to restock on a weekly basis, what needs restocking slightly less regularly and items that we tend to not need donating as often because they are the most popular items to donate and we regularly find ourselves overstocked.

Need weekly

  • Tinned fish
  • Tinned meat
  • Tinned soup
  • Tinned fruit
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Long-life milk
  • Nappies size 4
  • Nappies size 5
  • Nappies size 6
  • Lentils
  • Coffee
  • Cereal
  • Jams and spreads
  • Pasta and cooking sauces
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Soap/shower gel
  • Toilet paper
  • Nappies size 3

Need monthly

  • Rice
  • Beans/pulses
  • Biscuits
  • Baby food

Do not need donating regularly

  • Pasta
  • Baked beans
  • Women’s sanitary products
  • Tea
  • Nappies size 1
  • Nappies size 2

Who uses the food bank?

There is no single majority or group who uses the food bank more, people of all ages, backgrounds and situations come for support for a variety of reasons.

Why do people need to use the food bank?

(By no means a full description of the causes of food bank use, with more time and research we hope to be able to provide more information in the future). The experiences of people accessing the food bank are varied, however, there are some consistencies and patterns of use which reveal some of the larger issues pushing people into hardship.

Two of the key underlying issues are:

  • Debt- Large amounts of debts across many households related to rent arrears, costs built up over periods of illness or lost benefits and other reasons.
  • Benefits issues- Many people have long and protracted situations in which they are trying to access benefits they need to live comfortably with illness or disability but have been declared fit for work; others have been sanctioned for not supposedly meeting the terms of their benefits whilst others are experiencing the waiting period for universal credit, which is then contributing to the debt issues explained above.

These overriding issues are then amplified by other factors, which can be reasons for food bank use in their own right, examples being:

  • Familial issues
  • Abuse
  • Drug and alcohol addiction
  • Immigration and asylum issues
  • Loss of work or low income
  • Illness and disability
  • Mental health
  • Housing issues

Do food banks help homeless people?

Sometimes, but homelessness and the other causes that will bring someone to needing a food bank are complex and most people who use the food bank will have some sort of accommodation. Most are in their own home, but are struggling with costs due to issues with benefits and income. Others will be in hostels, refuges, staying with friends/family or temporary accommodation.

Many of the items that we offer are largely unsuitable to people who are sleeping rough, and other organisations in the area (such as the West London day centre) are more suitable to meet their needs. If someone who is sleeping rough is referred to the food bank though, we do provide what we can (such as food that doesn’t require cooking and toiletries) however they only make up a minority of the people accessing our service.

Do people try and cheat the system?

I really considered not providing a response to this question, as it is normally asserted by those with little understanding of food banks and the situations of those who use them, creating a toxic environment around those experiencing hardship and putting people off accessing a food bank when they may need it. However the amount it gets mentioned warrants some response.

We ensure that we understand as best as possible the situations that have brought people to the food bank so that we can have an idea as to how long they may need support and any other help that could be provided, which is why we operate on a voucher system and work with specialist referral agencies.

This is then balanced alongside a welcoming and supportive environment, in recognition of the fact that stigma may make it difficult for many people to ask for such help. We do not want people to feel like they cannot ask for help when they need it and want them to come to us when they need us rather than feel judged. If we treated people like they were cheating us by asking for food, people would be less likely to ask  for help when most needing the service, and they will already have enough hoops to jump through relating to the issues that have brought them to us, so accessibility combined with understanding creates as good an environment as possible in which people can access support.

Giving back

💡 Remember to select GiftAid when donating (We get an extra 25p for every £1 you give

Across the UK, an increasing number of people are experiencing situations where they have little to no money to purchase food and essentials. Benefits issues, unexpected costs, redundancy and long term health problems and other issues have created difficult, sometimes protracted situations that mean people need to access support from charities.

Given these circumstances. The North Paddington Foodbank (NPFB) was started in 2014 by a group of local professionals and residents who had directly experienced or provided support to those experiencing hardship in North Westminster and saw the need for an organisation to provide short-term support. Using financial and food donations from across the community, the food bank aims to provide at least 3 days worth of food to a household.

NPFB was started as a voluntary endeavour, which is still reliant upon volunteers from any and all backgrounds to help carry out its service, with 40-60 volunteers currently active. By 2015, the need was rising enough to warrant the employment of a manager for 3-days a week. An admin assistant was added in February 2017, whilst the manager’s position became full-time in August 2018. Over this period, the number of people needing the food bank rose at an average of 100% year-on-year, to now, where we have given food and essentials to 6-7,000 people in the last 12 months (January 2019).

We understand that we only form one part of the community- based and national response that is required to deal with the issues we are seeing today around poverty, hunger and the numerous other problems that lead to people needing a food bank. We therefore seek to work closely with people who need food banks and any organisations that seek to help and understand people’s situations and the best ways to provide support.

The North Paddington Foodbank serves wards in North Westminster, including Harrow Road, Queen’s Park, Westbourne, Church Street, Little Venice, Maida Vale, Bayswater and Lancaster Gate Wards.

 

As well as these areas, we also support people in Brent and North Kensington & Chelsea.

We want to be sure that those accessing the food bank are also receiving support to resolve whatever issue has led them to need it, which means that we operate mostly through a voucher system, where an organisation able to help with the primary issue refers the household to the food bank to receive a package. This gives the food bank the understanding they need to provide a full service, whilst having an understanding of any other areas they could potentially support with. We also want to make sure that the food bank is accessible to all who need it, so we will allow self-referral on someones first visit. We also have Shelter and Citizens advice advisors in each session to provide advice to those who need it.

Our referral partners occupy two tiers. The first is services that are in a position to identify and provide a voucher to those who may need a package but are not in a position to directly support the household with their issue. These referrers can send someone to the food bank for 4 occasions.

The second tier of referral partners will both be able to identify the need and provide direct support and case management. These referrers can refer a household for more than four occasions but may be required to communicate with the food bank in more detail, so that we can be sure that the person is receiving support. This is in recognition of the fact that anyone who has to visit the food bank over a number of weeks is in a situation that may need increased levels of support and cooperation between agencies.

Examples of voucher issuers are GP’s, Westminster Citizen’s Advice Bureau, housing associations, health services, North Westminster Drug & Alcohol Services, Children’s Services, local churches and schools.

We will not put a cap on the amount of times someone can access the food bank, but we will ask for closer communication with the household and their referrer after a certain number of visits to ensure that the person is receiving the support they need.

After 4 visits to the food bank, any future vouchers a household receives will have to have an individual voucher for each adult in the household, so there is an understanding of the situation of each individual over 18 and any other support opportunities that may be available to them.

Charity number 1165272

SHOPPING LIST

If you are interested in donating food and essentials, use this shopping list as a guide. We will use all suitable donations to help put together packages for people experiencing hardship in the local area.

Click to download shopping list.

Food Social

Food Social

Visit Us

North Paddington Food Bank
Selbourne House, WECH Community Centre, Ground Fl, 36A Elgin Avenue, London W9 3AZ

info@npfoodbank.org.uk
0207 266 3347