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A team of Dads are the food heroes of their Fulham community

William McGranaghan set up Dad’s House 12 years ago to provide a safe space for dad’s to be dads. Originally founded to “help single dads with the practicalities of raising their children alone”, it soon evolved into a multifaceted service provision and is indeed run by dads!

One of the most vital services offered at Dad’s House is the pro-bono family law clinic which serves to help the local community who cannot afford legal support for familial issues. The food distribution arm of the charity, headed by food coordinator Luke Tydeman, has been a more recent development due to a surge in need for nutritious food, a desperate situation for many exposed by Covid-19.

“I want to say a very big thank you to City Harvest for all of the food you donate to us every week. It really goes a long way to feed all the people we support; people seeking asylum, single people, single parents, families. The food makes a big difference so thank you for all your help” Luke Tydeman, Food Coordinator, Dad’s House

Luke serves a regular community food bank recipient. The Dad’s House treat each client with extreme care.

Food Redistribution: South meets West

Lillie Road, Fulham, has not always been home to the dads of Dad’s House. Before its planned demolition, Dad’s House was housed by Elephant & Castle shopping centre, SE1, home to a vibrant Latin American community which was disproportionately affected by Covid-19. When the nation was in the clutch of Covid-19, the DH team saw daily queues of around 200+ people, many of whom were recently unemployed and desperate for food once their income had evaporated almost overnight.

After moving to Fulham before Christmas 2020, Dad’s House’s operation changed drastically and currently feeds between 200-300 people per week, with regular drop-ins for people to come and get their essential items and a delivery service on Thursdays supported by local volunteers.

City Harvest food is vital to what Dad’s House does. The team at Dad’s House try to encourage a healthy diet where they can, and try to best cater for their recipients by getting to know them personally as they drop-in to the Lillie Road hub. The team also receives donations of baby items and clothes and are able to support expectant parents and young families by providing essential items that are otherwise unaffordable. Billy and the team’s outlook is that, generally, food is a gateway for people to come and receive all kinds of support. The family-law clinic has been a valuable resource for the local community, amongst other services Dad’s House is able to provide.

Whilst they deliver food to the more vulnerable people in the local community, they urge users to come and collect so they can build relationships and best meet their needs.

For example, the recipient photographed below is a regular service user and was once a volunteer. While popping in for some essential grocery items, the team remembered that she was an expectant mother and offered her the variety of items they had: from a Moses basket to new baby clothes.

A regular user comes to collect her groceries and, to her delight, some baby items and clothing.

Culturally appropriate food

Recently, local hostels and hotel spaces have been inundated with Iranian refugees.

“We have noticed an influx of Iranian asylum seekers in local hotels and hostels, and they’ve come to us and claimed the food they are given is inedible in their current accommodation. We decided to do an “Iranian Night” for them, which has involved getting some local restaurants on board to cook delicious, Iranian meals which we package up for them every Thursday night. It gives them a taste of home.” Billy McGranaghan, Founder, Dad’s House

Solidarity Sports

Solidarity Sports works in conjunction with Dad’s House and provides a safe space for children who have experienced trauma, abuse, and insecurity at home. The charity runs projects during school holidays when children are most susceptible to suffering abuse and/or experencing Holiday Hunger.

Solidarity Sports’ mission is to instil happy memories amongst their child recipients (aged 5-12, and some older) by providing fun, educational and sporting activities and, most importantly, support. They have a ratio of 2 children to 1 volunteer so that the children always feel safe, cared for, and have plenty of attention, which they may not always get at home or school. The volunteers and staff members are trained in safe-guarding so they can best care for more vulnerable children.

“The kids really love to come here” – Idris

Many of Solidarity Sports’ regular service users are also recipients of food and services at Dad’s House. The partnered charities have a mutual referral system, signposting key services for vulnerable recipients. The team at Solidarity Sports encourage healthy eating wherever possible. Mindful that they cannot completely change domestic eating habits, whilst the children are in their care they do their best to promote healthy eating and exercise through the sporting activities.

Idris and Niza have observed significant changes amongst recipients throughout Covid-19, commenting on the reality and rise of childhood obesity, something that is disproportionately experienced by low-income families and children. The team at Solidarity Sports hope to tackle this through education and action, and healthy City Harvest surplus has been a huge help thus far.

Can you lend a hand to help us support more wonderful charities like Dad’s House and Solidarity Sports? Donate now and keep our vans rolling and our surplus feeding London!