Mayor appoints volunteers as new Mayoresses
The decision, which will be reported at the councils AGM next week will see Dawn Atkinson, Natasha Ricketts and Christine Norman who all volunteer at the Evelyn Community Store awarded the title in recognition of their work to tackle food poverty.
The community store, run by the formidable trio has been open for over a year and has supported over one hundred families on low incomes to purchase food at a low cost.
The volunteers work with FareShare, a nationwide charity that has been helping to re-distribute food since 1994. The food that they collect is surplus and despite being in-date and of great quality, would otherwise go to waste. The store is open to anyone who lives in the Lewisham and is either in receipt of benefits or on a low-income.
Members sign up to the store and pay £3.50 per week for food that they collect and make huge savings that can help alleviate the financial burden they are under. The set fee for the store, regardless of what you take away with you is for users to have pride knowing that they have contributed to what they take home with them. Items available include fresh fruit and veg, frozen foods, tinned food, meats and toiletries.
Evelyn Community Store volunteer Natasha Ricketts said:
“This is something that we will embrace and it’s nice that we’re doing it as a trio and not solo because there’s always safety in numbers and many hands make light work! We already engage with our members about different issues they’re having so I think for us now it’s about creating that stamp around what we’re doing with food poverty.”
Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham said:
“This year has been the Year of the Volunteer and Natasha, Dawn and Christine are a trio of inspiring women who have helped make sure 100s of families and vulnerable people have had food during lockdown. As a borough Lewisham has responded well to the challenges presented by coronavirus but we have only been able to do that because of all the amazing volunteers who are helping us.”
Margaret Dodwell, CEO at Lewisham Homes, said:
“The Evelyn Community Store has become an integral part of its community and the Mayor’s decision to pick Natasha, Dawn and Christina as Mayoresses goes a long way to highlight the importance of supportive local initiatives. They’ve dedicated so much of their time and effort to help make the store what it is today and we couldn’t be prouder. Their Mayoress titles are more than deserved.”
The community store is part of Lewisham Local, the coordinated voluntary sector response to COVID 19 that works in partnership with Lewisham Council. The community store has delivered emergency food parcels to over 40 households a week during the pandemic.