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Help The Playground Theatre Cafe & Bar provide free meals for vulnerable local people

NORTH Kensington The Playground Theatre Café Covid-19 Food Relief Campaign is making free meals for elderly and vulnerable local people.

Rima Sams and son Mars set up the campaign in response to the social distancing measures, working with food banks and charities.

The Felix Project provide about 70% of the fresh ingredients at no cost, and Kensington & Chelsea Mutual Aid Group collect the meals and distribute them to those who need it most: elderly, self-isolating, vulnerable people, often those who live in sheltered accommodation.

Rima, Mars and volunteers are making up to 500 meals a week; the meals are nutritious and delivered in compostable containers that can be heated on arrival.

The campaign is run entirely by volunteers with a GoFundMe page to raise money for the costs of running the kitchen: www.gofundme.com/f/the-playground-theatre-cafe-covid-19-food-relief.

Rima Sams said: “There is shocking food poverty in North Kensington which given the close proximity of extreme wealth in the Royal Borough, is unbelievably sad. A conversation with a local friend regarding food bank needs going through the roof in the first week of lockdown, inspired me to want to help get meals to the elderly and most vulnerable.”

The Playground Theatre also continues to run one of its mental health initiatives: Well Read, a script reading project created by The Playground Theatre in partnership with St Charles Hospital involving mental health and older adult patients. Since social distancing measures were put in place, the theatre has run the initiative digitally to continue to reach vulnerable people.

Co-artistic Director Anthony Biggs said: “We consider ourselves an integral part of the neighbourhood of North Kensington, and our outreach work gives as much joy to us as to those we work with. In these challenging times, when our doors are closed and our future is uncertain, we believe it is vital to continue to support those in our community who are isolated and lonely, and who rely on The Playground.”

The Playground Theatre is an off-West End theatre dedicated to nurturing new talent and staging an international programme of shows. Led by co-Artistic Directors Peter Tate and Anthony Biggs, the unique space is a former bus depot located on Latimer Road. Its name is intended as an invitation to theatre makers and performers to come and “play”, and to encourage bold experimentation with new works for the stage.

Since it opened, The Playground Theatre has cultivated relationships with international companies and practitioners. To date, this has seen the venue work with leading creatives from Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Japan and beyond.

The Playground Theatre.