Monday, 22 February 2016

We Visit Deptford Creek Swing Bridge, One Year After Commissioning

by Benson Agoha | Greenwich

The Deptford Creek Swing Bridge links Greenwich And Deptford parts of London and enables residents to cross the Deptford Creek, without having to make a 180 degree journey through the main link road.

It was commissioned on the 20th of January 2015 by the Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Cllr Denyse Hyland and other senior Council officials including, rising Labour MP Matthew Pennycook.
One year on, Woolwich Online decided to find out how the bridge has served the locals. And so we arrived there at about mid-day and took our time enjoy the view.

The swing bridge across Deptford Creek, connects the Millennium Quay estate (Deptford side) and the New Capital Quay estate (Greenwich side).

I ask a resident how she has enjoyed the bridge since it was opened. Here is what she says:

From one side to the other, the Swing Bridge provided spectacular view of the scenery. Walk along it to the centre and you enjoy unrestricted view of high rise finance houses of Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs.

Turn 180 degrees and you enjoy the Deptford Creek and the news structures rising across the road. But there was no boat on the Creek when we called - not even one. So we asked a resident of Deptford who uses the Bridge regularly (first Video).
* Royal Greenwich Leader, Cllr Denise Hyland, accompanied by other senior
council figures, including MP Matthew Pennycook pose for photos after the
official opening on Jaunary 20, 2015.
For tourists who have witnessed the Tower Bridge rising vertically to let tall ships sail through, the Depford Creek Swing Bridge was designed to move sideways to let tall boats sail into the Creek, rather vertically. And the residents get to enjoy this from time to time, Agneska told me.

Even remarkably, one year on, there has been no adverse incidence over which the residents could find fault. So, they are all happy.

The bridge has to be closed twice daily at short intervals when the tide from River Thames rises, and appropriate notice have been provided to explain to users. During such closures, locals can either wait for it to open or travel the slightly longer distance route that leads unto to major road nearby.

Enjoying the scenery from the bridge:


Built by Galliard Homes, the bridge was carefully designed to provide a new promenade setting for local residents, joggers, cyclists and tourists alike.

Going by the countenance on the faces of the residents of both Deptford and Greenwich Thames pathways, the Deptford Bridge Swing Bridge achieved just that.
Long may it work - and there is no reason why it won't.


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Woolwich Library: Laureen Worrell's Book Signing Reveals An Ongoing Journey Of A jaSISTAR

by Benson Agoha

On Amazon, 'The Journey of I & I' is described as "a raw yet powerful account of a tragic and horrendous childhood endured by Liz, an ordinary child growing up in extraordinary circumstances," in which "Readers are taken on a journey of unfathomable lows and motivating highs as they find themselves turning the pages wanting to simultaneously help the main character, Liz, wanting to rescue her, embrace her, cry and laugh with her."

Amazon says the book "is primarily a tale of survival and determination as the Author invites readers to accompany Liz on her life's journey."

At the book signing which took place inside the Woolwich Library on Friday, fear, shock, disbelief and shame - all the results of domestic violence and abuse in their ramifications was what the "The Journey of I&I is about.

* At $19.62 (about £15), the Jouney of I & I has already made Amazon's bestseller list and won the new author admirable comments and recommendations.

Inspired by personal experience, the author writes about a raging hurt that refuses to go away and, later, admits that her healing process has begun. 

She talks about the touchy issue of domestic abuses as it impacts on and rips the individual and family apart, leaving chaos, emotional trauma in its wake, just as it destroys hope, trust and destiny. The author talks about the feeling of betrayal and the healing process which hardly comes easy for some.

One thing was for sure - Maureen Worrell is a very emotional person, but so is the subject under discussion. Combine the two and you begin to imagine what fire you just might have ignited.

Unsurprisingly, the author - already on Amazon's best seller list - has received encouraging comments and recommendations. She is already being nominated for "Positive Impact Author" and "Outstanding Teacher".

Supported by family and flanked by her promoter, Angela Rahman of Nubia Magazine, the Maureen Worrell came prepared, and when she read from the book, she said her experience as victim of domestic violence was a 'life and death situation', and 50 years after, she was still working on her healing process. So as you can infer, the book is a true account of the author's experience.
Her promoter, angela Rahman, herself a victim of domestic violence said it was a subject over which 'we are being real'.
According to Rahman, domestic violence is not just about physical abuse, but includes as well various forms of abnormal behaviour in the home that induce emotional, mental and psychological degradation of others.

She says for instance that creating artificial silence in home so that people walk around as if stepping on egg-shells is evident of typical home fraught with domestic violence and abuse.

But what is the way out for victims and how can they achieve healing from the trauma and be able to potentially move on from their hurt? The author says she recommends self-education on the various forms of domestic abuse and then to speak-out to someone else.

"There is always someone willing to listen to you and possibly help you," she says. So silence is not an option.

And will there be a sequel to the book? The author says yes, but first 'READ THIS BOOK'.

The book is 430 pages and weighs only about 1.5 pounds, but for further details of the author's discussions and recommendations on dealing with abuses in the home, Amazon says "LOOK INSIDE."
"The Journey of I & I" by Maureen Worrell is available on Amazon for $19.62 or through the promoter, Angela Rahman of Nubia Magazine

* Twitter: @woolwichonline.
* Photo Credit: MW/AR/NubiaMagazine.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Woolwich Free Ferry: Pier Renovation Reaches Half Way Point: Ferry Pier To Emerge Stronger After Salvage Works

by Benson Agoha

Salvage Works on the Southern pier of the Woolwich Ferry is nearing completion after six months during which a section of the pedestrian route remained closed.

The works are being carried out by Concrete Repairs Limited (CRL), in partnership with Briggs (operators of the Woolwich Ferry), and Transport For London (TfL).

CRL uses a technique known as hidro-demolition to remove damaged parts by flushing out grit and rust before repairs are carried out.

* With Shane Moore of CRL at Site.

Although the history of the Woolwich Ferry dates back to 1884, when the metropolitan board of works obtained statutory authority to ferry across the Thames at Woolwich, Passengers, animals, vehicles and goods, free of all tolls, rates or charges, and commissioned on March 23rd 1889 by the then Chairman of the London County Council, Lord Roseberry, it was in 1963 that three diesel engined ferry boats were constructed and our report is relevant from that time.

The New Woolwich Ferry approach Pier was constructed to service the boats built by the Caleden Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Dundee, which were put in use for a total cost of £804,000. Each was licensed to carry 500 passengers and 200 tons of vehicles.
They are named after eminent politicians who have contributed to the well-being of Woolwich in some way or the other. But since 1963, the ongoing restoration works is the first of its kind.

Mr. Patrick Smyth, the Site Manager of CRL tells me that the job involves a technique called 'hydro-demolition' and that restoration covers about 65 Colunms of both concrete abutment and piers, some of which have their footings deep underwater.

On the average each column is about 10 metres (some 33 feet) long.

High pressure pumps are used to remove corrosion and cracks - up to where reinforcing steels are exposed.

"Over the years," he says, "some of these concrete columns supporting the pier have developed cracks just as some parts of the steel core have corroded, and needed repairs. This is done using high pressure water pumps to blast off weak concrete, before a new one, made from natural cement, and which are environment friendly, are resprayed."

I asked, why 'environment friendly'? Mr. Smyth tells me that the cements are made with natural compounds that will not harm the environment and that equally importantly, it has to harden before water touches it. So it is also fast setting or hardening.

Have they faced any glitches so far? "Well", he says "there are issues that arose, that were not obvious from the initial assessment, because they were done by accessors from a boat and, because of time of assessment, were missed. When they were discovered a review and addition consent from TFL, became necessary, adding to the duration."

Shane More (with me in photo), one of the site workmen tells me that the River experiences two tides daily and as a result, the works are planned to fit in - taking advantage of low tide.

The site Manager concur. "Tide is one of the reason's why the initial assessment missed some of the cracks," he says. Additionally, he tells me that the southern end of the approach in Woolwich is deeper than the North Woolwich end, and therefore involved more work.

And what is the scale of the job in terms of the number of concrete columns. Shane tells me they work on 65 columns spread along the semi-arc approach, and the job is done systematically in other that neither structure nor traffic above is disturbed.

Mr. Smyth shed more light, pointing my attention to a archy-drawing hanging on the wall, which shows sketches of the work plan. He says, because the ferry has to remain in operation, jobs are selected and distributed in a half-harzard or zig-zag manner and in sets that ensure an even distribution of weight at all times.

The fact that fast hardening cement is used means it dries up as it hits the target portions. And even if water touches it shortly thereafter, it will not be damaged.

As pointed out above, the average height of each column on the southern side, according to Site Manager is 10 meters ( some 33 feet).

With the works at the Southern end almost complete, the team is getting ready to head north from early May, and may be on site as early as 7th, after a confirmation meeting with TFL Bosses.

Mr. Smyth is optimistic that with what they know now about the scale of job involved, things will likely be faster and reckons they will be done with whole job by August, 2014.

TFL is spending about £30m on the Ferry Approach restoration, river-side repairs and a group of other jobs around Woolwich.

* Twitter: @woolwichonline.
* Photo Credit: Courtesy of Shane Moore.


* Our Thanks to Mr. David Newcomb, Operations Manager (Briggs); Mr. Patrick Smyth, Site Manager (CRL); Mr. Shane More, Site workman; as well as Onboard Crew of the Woolwich Ferry, for their time and assistance.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Woolwich: Archaeologists Uncover Remains Of A 16th Century Merchant Property

by Benson Agoha

Berkely Home's recent archaeological digs at their Nouvel I project site, Royal Arsenal Riverside, Woolwich has uncovered remains of a Merchant's House.

Dan Sykes, team leader from Oxford Archaeology, said the property would have belonged to a rich Merchant, who probably broght in wares from his voyages and had to store them in the cellars.

* Archaeologists record the celars dating back around the 16th-18th Century.

He said some of the walls date back to the 16th Century while others were later additions as can be seen from the different stones and bricks used at different times.

The site, located on what later became part of the large Coal Yard for the Woolwich Power Station, became a slum, with low end residents, after the Merchants left, say Vonathan Partington of the Greenwich Heritage Centre, Royal Arsenal.

It remained a slum area, but as energy demands from the Power Station increased, it was cleared around 1940 to make room for the expanding coal stock.

Built between 1930 and 1931 the Woolwich Power station, was very efficient and performed optimally, meeting energy needs of residents, encouraging the addition of it's outputs to the national grid.

And the Coal Yard continued to expand, up to the Arsenal, before the Power Station became outmoded and was demolished between 1979 and 1980.

At the time the property existed at the site, the perimeter walls and rail lines were not there. The wall went up only in the early 1960's, record show.

The following images were exclusively obtained by Woolwich Online from Berkeley Homes, which has been developing the Royal Arsenal since 2001.
* This image, with view looking along the west facing wall to the south, a narrow path led into a stairwell to gave access to the to the basement area of the property.

* This image shows the remains of a brick cellar, with view to the South. The brickworks date back to around the 18th Century.

* With view to the south, this is an 18th Century brick built cellar made of brick and stone floor. Additions must have been made to the earlier cellar to the west of photo.

* View to the south, this photo shows archaeologists working in and around a C16th - C18th Century cellar likely to have been part of a Merchants house which fronted the Thames.

* View to the South - A C16th - 18th Cellar.

* West facing wall, the photo shows a 16th - 18th Century cellar. Later North facing brick wall, probably an 18th brick skin addition over an earlier stone. Floor made partly of interlocking pavement stones and a cemented area which was later added.

A Woolwich resident said, it might have been a slum at some point, but the site is set to have one of the magnificent highrises that Woolwich can be proud of.

* Twitter: @bensonagoha.

* Twitter: @woolwichonline.


* Images Credit: received with thanks from Berkeley Homes.


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* Except otherwise instructed, to protect identity, Woolwich Online retains the right to substitute name of authors, as is the case in the story above.

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

What I Think About This `Strike Or Not To Strike' by Louisa Pawsey

Personal Opinion Of A City Resident:

As I sit at home curled up under my duvet, trying to work out how to get to work when the only underground line to Wood Green is closed from Tuesday evening, my mind starts to think about the whole purpose of going on strike.

For those of you who don’t live in London or who don’t travel into the city on regular basis, the idea of trains not running must seem like such an alien thing. I mean, how does it matter if the underground is running a half service? Well believe me, the underground network is the heart of the city and without it, we grind to a halt.

Let me first tell you, as a conservative I don’t agree with strikes. I will never think its a good idea to allow workers to hold their employers to ransom and, and if I had my way I would sack every person that goes on strike on Tuesday and, hang the instigators on the nearest lamppost.

But I don’t, so I just have to put my faith in Boris Johnson that he will go all Maggie Thatcher on the RMT and then I could watch them go the way Arthur Scargill and Miners did in the late 1980s. I don’t see that happening in the near future though and if I am honest, that makes me very sad.

I think that the best way to deal with strikers is with head-on offensive measures and I am so glad that Boris Johnson hasn’t given in to their demands.

Now lets get this straight, I don’t really understand the purpose of this strike, or what their 'grievance' is this time. But from what I gather, it has do with ticket offices closing down, and people loosing their jobs. But at the same time, I have been made to understand that nobody is being fired or being forced out of a job, or even being made redundant. So what’s the issue about?

Ticket offices are closing because they aren’t being used, those staff effected are being asked to take voluntary redundancy, and if they say no, then they are going to be found other jobs within the underground network. Where is the problem with that?

And from conversations with members of the underground staff network, there seems to be quite a lot that appear happy to take the voluntary redundancy packages being offered. I mean lets be fair, most of them will be getting a very decent pay off.

But what I don’t really understand is what all this have to do with the train drivers. They will still have to drive the trains even if the ticket offices are being closed, so surely their jobs must be safe?

Nor do I want to hear the stuff about unions sticking together, on the guise of showing solidarity and support for their fellow workers!!! That seems to be just propaganda crap, especially as 70% of the union members either voted against strike action or abstained from the vote.

Which means that only 30% of the union actually supports the strike. To me that just says it all really. It's a totally irrelevant strike and is going to get the strikers no where, except for loosing two days pay.

If you work in a job where you can afford to do that, then I would say you have got it pretty cushy. Most people can't even afford to take a day off sick as they won’t get paid.

I am led to believe that this ticket offices closure scheme is more to do with the modernisation of the underground network, and they are only closing offices that are unused. That seems to make perfect sense. I travel through the same two tube stations on a daily basis, and have done for the past four years. Most of the time, I see the ticket offices open and the staff just sitting there doing nothing.

Of course we would all like a job like that, but is it really viable for a company to keep paying someone to do that kind of job? And lets be fair, this whole restructuring has come because of the enormous success of the introduction of the Oyster Card, which has made the ticket offices redundant.

But that was the whole plan, to make the underground system more efficient and productive, which it appears to have done. So really, it can't come as any surprise to those affected that their jobs are no longer needed, and they have had years to find themselves alternative employment, since the oyster was introduced.

And lets be honest, the truth of the matter is, being more probably to the point, these people who up until this time, have had relatively easy jobs in the ticket offices, are worried that they now will actually have to work harder if they are given an alternative job. Could that probably be what is getting on their nerves?

Well I think there are people who work a lot harder, have longer hours and normally have to deal with a lot worse than the LU staff. Trust me, some of them are being paid less than half of what the LU staff get, but are not allowed to strike.

There are even people that are doing a lot more dangerous jobs - the military being the obvious example - that can't go on strike and, who have to watch friends die. Feeling guilty about the strike yet? No, of course you're not, because you only care about yourselves.

What made me so angry on my way home last night was the sign from underground staff, apologising for any inconvenience caused by the strike!!!! If you are that sorry then get up off your backsides and go back to work, that way there wouldn’t be any inconvenience would there?

I truly think they don’t understand the disruption it causes and how much impact it has on other peoples lives. In my own experience the amount of customers that have cancelled their appointments for the next two days is ridiculous. And that means I am going to suffer, my boss is going to suffer and my company is going to loose business.

In fact, experts suggest as much as £50 million per day will be lost because of the strike. This is might surely be a lot more than the jobs being faugt are worth, but does it matter to anyone of the strikers? Do they worry about the millions of others that are suffering or who are worse off than them?

As you can probably gather I don’t agree with strikes or strikers. If I had my way I would privatise the LU network and get rid of the unions, and see how much the union leaders would like living on JSA. Maybe they would appreciate their jobs a bit more.

But as much as I hate strikers I am so glad that Boris Johnson hasn’t given in to them because it will only result to encourage more strikes and more disruption.
Stand firm Boris because 80% of Londoners don't want this strike and actually support you.

Lets be honest though at the end of the day, if London can survive the blitz, it can survive two days without a full underground network, even if it is an inconvenience.

And even though I have to leave for work half an hour early, it seems the only thing it is really doing is making more people turn away from the RMT. I don’t think unions should hold the power, that should belong to the employer.

And anyway, I can't wait for the day that all underground trains are fully automated.

But I want to say one positive thing - to all the underground staff going to work over the next two days, whether they are train drivers, platform staff or ticket office staff, I thank you for your morals, work ethic, sense and common decency.

If I see any of you during the strike, then you will get a friendly smile and a wave from me, because I will be one very grateful commuter and that you chose not to bow down to your union means a lot, and for that, I have total respect.

So thanks for going to work and for getting me to work safely.

Friday, 13 December 2013


* Get Help!

Any better way to deliver the message? Well, there are certainly many. But this stop word perfectly written with cigarette sticks seems to deliver the message very succinctly.

Unfortunately, communication is a two-way street and the photo, shared by Anwen Brown has already received mixed interpretations by smokers and non-smokers alike.

One said "That pic to me is saying `stop smoking, but before you do here's 76 i've already got lined up for you'".

Another claimed that smoking has at least one advantage. As he put it "amidst innumerable bad effects, its got 1 good...Women can't have uterine Fibroid if they smoke".

But there is a positive responder who said "I've just stopped smoking myself by using patches which is working for me."

Why is smoking so addictive and a `hard-to-get-out' cage?

The responses expose the danger of smoking which Cancer Research UK says is directly liked to cancer, representing about a quarter of all cancer deaths in UK, which was about 43.000 by 2009 figures. In the same year about 102,000 people died from preventable, smoking-related diseases including cancers.

And there was an estimated 60,000 cases of cancer in the UK in 2010 traceable to people inhaling Tobacco smoke.

Despite cigarette smoking being outlawed in public places since 2007, a record number still smoke. Even so, the number of males v females who smoke has reduced, so its not all bad. In the sixty years between 1950 and 2010, smoking in Britain has decreased steadily, as can be seen from the graph below.

But with around 86% of lung cancer deaths in the UK blamed on tobacco smoking, anti-smoking agencies are not resting on their oars yet. No is the World Health Organisation.

* Percentage of Adult population who smoked cigarette in the UK and the rates per 100.000 of males and females.

The study by Cancer Research found that between 2008 and 2010, "the difference between the sexes was not statistically significant" and there are an estimated 10 million adults cigarette smokers in Britain.

British Government efforts to curb tobacco smoking has gained a lot of ground, intensifying since Tuesday 22nd, October 2002 when the House of Commons voted in favour of banning the advertisement of tobacco on billboards, in newspapers, and on websites. Until then, the House sold its own-label brand of cigarettes.
House of Commons Cigarettes.

Nigeria is one of the countries where the government took radical measures to curb smoking.

Under the late Minister of Health, late Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, cigarette manufacturers were forced to insert the words "Cigarette Smoking is liable to kill you.".

In 2013, the campaign to curb smoking is still being waged, with one blog "TobaccoCTRL" calling for stopage of tobacco use.

* Tobacco Smoking: An Avoidable Killer.

In Britain smokers were officially banned from smoking in public places in the whole of the United Kingdom in 2007 when England finally implemented the legislation, and on 1 October 2007, it also became illegal to sell cigarette to a minor.

The United Nations has been active with efforts to curb tobacco smoking, declaring the 31st of May each year as a `No Tobacco Day' and asking all member nations to support its call and place a total ban tobacco advertising.

On May 31, 2008, Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General called on governments to protect young people by imposing a ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship as a powerful tool to protect the youth.

World No Tobacco Day on May 31 2013, the UN agency restated its call on countries to ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship as "Tobacco use kills nearly 6 million people every year."

The Director-General said “Governments must make it their top priority to stop the tobacco industry’s shameless manipulation of young people and women, in particular, to recruit the next generation of nicotine addicts.”

On the 40th Anniversary of the United Nations 1988, it held its first World `No Smoking Day' on April 7. A year later, on May 17, 1989, the World Health Organization passed a resolution calling for May 31 to be annually known as World No Tobacco Day. It has been observed each year since then.

That the WHO is still on this campaign for 25 years show how problamatic the addiction to tobacco smoking really is. And despite several efforts by governments, smokers find it hard to quit.

In recent days, billboards and neon signs in Britain, have used locals to lure smokers out of their addiction. People who have been successfully encouraged to quit by switching over to E-Cigarettes are featured with their testimonies.

The NHS also have have been active in attempting to lure smokers to quit by visiting public Libaries and shopping centres and offering free assistance.

If you are finding it hard to quit, the NHS provides free support. You can get help by visiting their site [] or follow them on Twitter for the `NHS-Smokefree service'.

To follow them on Twitter, check out: @nhssmokefree.


* Twitter: @woolwichonline.


Articles for publication must have full contact details, including name, address and telephone number of sender and sent by email to:


* Statistical Graph: Cancer Research UK.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


* The Greenwich Foodbank: overcoming hunger through the power of collective generousity.


[ .."My husband was an accountant. With his financial expertise, we took pains to budget carefully for retirement – we prepared our whole lives for it, and had a comfortable savings...So I wasn't prepared when we lost it all..I had two young children..I had to change my lifestyle completely – it was tough...

..Thankfully, I had my community (Church) to turn to for support. Through my involvement in church, I began learning more about food assistance programs, including (The Foodbank). I was amazed. So many people in our community were struggling – including myself, and yet, so many of us had no idea this program was available...

..I never assumed I will be on the receiving end..and I knew that it has a lot to do with my passion for continuing to give because I always want to make sure that I help that someone else can stand up and say `I can do this and with a little help, I can continue doing it for a long time'." ]*

Stories such as Judy's are common. Yet, many of us are not aware of the crisis others face when we allow ourselves to be locked away in our own little world of luxury and self-sufficiency - even when we might or might not have been, albeit partly, responsible for their suffering.

Woolwich Online picked up the vibe of the efforts of the Greenwich Foodbank and decided to do a report on it, ensuring we were open to all possibilities.

Research for the food bank report took Discovery Missions to various places - including the supermarkets around the Town Centre - to look at canned food and other edible stuff, accepted at the Foodbank.

We visited Wilkinson, Lidl, Iceland, Sainsbury's, Morrison's in Thamesmead and Co-operative and Iceland stores in Plumstead.

Unlike some places where individuals set up private foodbank at certain times of the year, the Greenwich Foodbank network is an ongoing rapid response against hunger.

More an insurance than a bank, the network is designed in a way that those who have found themselves in a situation of feeding difficulty or crisis can draw out of it.

Woolwich Online found that services at the various outlets vary but are usually generous and satisfactory.

* Cheerful volunteers help with collection and distribution at client facing centres.

At The Salvation Army, Plumstead, for example, visitors are welcome to the table after church service every Sunday. Everyone sits around the same table to eat donated food by the members - encouraging mutual assistance and communal relationship.

At the RCCG (City of David) Church, arriving beneficiaries with food vouchers, find biscuits and drinks already served on a side table. If they came in hungry, they can start tackling their rumbling stomach while a volunteer sorts out thier voucher.

Pastor Victor of the Emmanuel Babtist Church, Thamesmead and Leutenant Guy Davies of The Salvation Army, are commendably, rapid responders to calls from people in crises.

There is also the New Wine Church, Woolwich, which ensures that even when you don't yet have a voucher, you don't get turned away.

But the Greenwich Foodbank was preceeded by the Thamesmead foodbank, which has operated since 2009. Seeded by The Trussell Trust, the Thamesmead Foodbank itself, is part of another Charity, Elim.

* Food items for donation must be either canned or packaged into durable airtight containers.

The Foodbank says their operations work in five steps:

1) Non-perishable food is donated by the public or generous organisations.

2) Volunteers sort and pack the food into emergency boxes.

3) Frontline care professionals determine who needs food and gives vouchers.

4) Vouchers are redeemed for 3 days of food at a foodbank.

5) Foodbanks take time to listen and signpost clients to further support.

The Deans of the Royal Borough of Greenwich set up The Greenwich Foodbank in response to complaints of increasing hunger and feeding crisis from families. They incorporated the operations of the Thamesmead Foodbank, in the process.

They appointed Alan Robinson to lead and build the new organisation, and Alan tells Woolwich Online that ["..the borough deans are a body that represent most of the Christian churches in Greenwich and .. provide a unified Christian voice to the community."]

* Canned items like this are accepted from donors.

For nearly one year since its commissioning, the Greenwich Foodbank has been building on the experience of The Thamesmead Foodbank, to tackle hunger crises in emergency situations in the Borough.

Located in Eltham, where The Greenwich Foodbank has a big warehouse, which serves as headquarters, the operational tasks of receiving donations, sorting, storing and packing them, ready in boxes, are carried out.

Once packed, the boxes are then distributed to about 8 disbursement( client facing centres )[sic] set up for easier access to those in need.

These distribution centres open at different times and days of the week.

The Greenwich Foodbank charactises a bank in the sense of being a pool. But in the same sense it is reflective of insurance against hunger, because those who sustain it, through generous donations are not necessarily those who take out of it. But should they find themselves in a situation where they need food, it is there for them.

Donors too have been generous to The Greenwich Foodbank.

In the past six months, the foodbank has received over 12,000kg of food and distributed a little over 9000kg say Alan Robinson. They have fed more than 1300 people in 700 households in the process, within the same period.

* Food: solution to hunger.

But who are the donors? We asked? Mr. Robinson tells us that the majority of food donations come from the Churches in Greenwich, while the rest are mostly from the general public - donated at supermarket collection events, and from schools harvest collections.

Volunteers work at the different distribution centres, on specific days - and on days when they have to go to Supermarket Collection Events or to schools harvest collections.

Supermarket Collection Events are special arrangements during which supermarkets allow volunteers from the Foodbank to come with thier lists and baskets. The Volunteers place their baskets near the tills, and as people shop, they make donations into volunteer's baskets.

So every food given out to beneficiaries experiencing food crisis have been paid for by someone somewhere.

* Emmergency Response to Hunger Crisis.

So why is a voucher necessary to obtain food from the foodbank? We asked some of the volunteers. They said that the foodbank is designed for people in crises - not to make them lazy. So people who are in a position of such need, benefit from it.

"Before, there was nothing like voucher," one volunteer told Woolwich Online. "..Foods were just given to people as they arrived".

But as the government try to guage the seriousness of the food crisis, through the Department for Works and Pensions, some controls were introduced, making the production of a voucher a necessity.

The vouchers are made available by a "network of frontline care professionals, who make the determination of who benefits from our food", says Mr. Robinson.

These professionals include GPs, Head Teachers or School Principals, The Social Services Team, The Job Centre, Church Leaders from the participating churches.

* A man eye-shops at a Supermarket.**

For those who do not have access to a voucher for some reason, all hope is not lost. As the team leader tells us "We provide emergency food for those in crisis - short term support. Users of our service who are not already linked to someone helping their long term difficulties are signposted to an agency who can provide that support.

Though a Christian initiative, The Greenwich Foodbank responds to crisis calls - from anyone within the Borough who is in need - irrespective of religious, ethnic, racial or national inclinations.

In the same way, donations are welcome from all.

Indeed, anyone can help The Greenwich Foodbank, in one or more of several ways:

A) By donating food to your foodbank;

B) By giving funds;

C) By volunteering your time;

D) By holding Fundraising events; or simply

E) by spreading the word to people who can help - even if you can't.

Support The Greenwich Foodbank today!

To donate to The Greenwich Foodbank, please contact the following or access churches where collection baskets are provided:

The Greenwich Foodbank. Email: or

Alan Robinson: The Greenwich Foodbank, Eltham. Email: or by Phone: 07771 830549.

Thamesmead Foodbank: Email: Tel. 0203 149 5783

The Greenwich Foodbank says, "Love Thy Neighbour. Give Food!"


* Words in bracket in Judy's story above were inserted by us for clarity.

** Images: for illustrations only.


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We are grateful to leaders of the various churches who kindly granted us interviews and answered our questions, including, Mr. Alan Robinson (Greenwich Foodbank, Eltham); St. Peter's Catholic Church, (Woolwich); New Wine Church (Woolwich); Rev. Victor Lambert (Emmanuel Babtist Church, Thamesmead); Guy Davies (The Salvation Army, Plumstead); Rev. Gabriel Olumide,(Fresh Grace Global Christian Centre, Plumstead); RCCG - City Of David (Woolwich Dockyard)- as well as Volunteers from the respective "client facing centres" who assisted us with our research and provided insight into what they do to help the Foodbank, and how they do it. Well done guys..