One of Ealing’s leading champions for elderly people joined a chorus of congratulations this week as ECT’s delivery teams revealed they had distributed more than 10,000 food packages across the borough.
“A big thank you to Ealing Community Transport and their drivers,” said Reginald Parkinson, Chief Executive of Age UK Ealing. “We are very grateful – not just for the passion they have for helping vulnerable people but for all the hard work that goes with it, particularly over recent weeks.”
During less turbulent times, ECT has a long-standing relationship with Age UK Ealing transporting elderly, isolated people by minibus to the charity’s day centre in Greenford. Here they can socialise, get a hot meal for lunch and take part in a range of activities, from singing and knitting to armchair yoga.
But since the lockdown at the end of March, none of this has been possible and Greenford Community Centre has had to close its doors.
Like so many charities, however, both Age UK and ECT realised early on in the pandemic that key groups in their communities would still be in need – and so they worked together to ensure the most vulnerable people could get vital support.
While Age UK’s own staff have been making regular check-up calls to all those who would normally attend their centres, they have also become one of several local charities and community groups to partner with ECT to support their members with food parcels and hot meals.
Mr Parkinson said ECT had recently been delivering between 25 and 50 food parcels weekly to elderly people who would normally have got their lunch at the day centre. Ready-meals and food are prepared in a local nursery school kitchen, picked up by ECT minibuses and dropped at individuals’ front doors.
ECT is providing the service free of charge, as part of its charitable activities.
Food delivery has become a major new activity for ECT teams during the lockdown – and the number of individual food packages delivered throughout the crisis was today (Thursday) set to go above 10,000.
ECT has built a range of other food delivery partnerships across the borough that have contributed to this number, including a major collaboration with Ealing Council. Earlier this month, council leader Julian Bell and fellow cabinet member Bassam Mahfouz both praised ECT for “saving lives” with their tireless dedication and willingness to help. [See the full story here].
Mr Parkinson of Age UK Ealing added that ECT’s role in the local community was much more than a simple transport service: “ECT doesn’t just provide transport. They have a very good understanding of all the needs of the individual clients, particularly those who are very vulnerable and frail. They are patient, friendly and professional – every single one of them. The way they work with us and with the elderly people is great to watch.”