Covid: Lewisham barber hands out thousands of meals

image copyrightLewisham Council
image captionZiggy: "I'm delivering to 60 houses a week"

A barber in south-east London has been given a mayor's award after turning his shop into a food bank, and providing thousands of meals to the community.

At the start of the pandemic, Ziggy, who owns Progress Barbers in Lewisham, used his own money to set up a food bank from his shop.

He also delivered food parcels to those in need.

"I was still running the barbers at the same time," Ziggy said. "I fitted it in whenever I had time."

image copyrightLewisham Council
image caption"My most positive experience is seeing people come together"

"I started using an app called Nextdoor and working with FareShare London who do a lot of deliveries to food banks," Ziggy added. "I still use my funds to run it, but I get food from FareShare and donations from local people."

Before this latest lockdown, it meant in between his hair appointments he was delivering to about 60 houses a week.

image copyrightLewisham Council
image captionInside Progress Barbers before the latest lockdown

"I hope to still be able to continue, to prepare the food in my kitchen," he said. "Now that there's another lockdown, I'm displaying the food in the shop. I'm just doing my best."

Ziggy, who's run his business for 20 years, was nominated for the mayor's award scheme, which recognises people who live, study or work in Lewisham, who volunteer to benefit others in the borough. This year everyone who was nominated received an award.

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Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, said: "2020 has been an incredibly challenging year with the Covid pandemic changing our lives overnight. But almost as quickly, Lewisham's army of volunteers sprung to action.

"Anyone who was shielded, who needed food, or medicine was able to get the help they needed. We could only have done that because of our volunteers."

For Ziggy, who's seen his shop open and close during the lockdowns, it's been a challenging but also positive experience.

"I've seen people come together. People have been looking out for each other and helping each other. I've talked to and met so many new people. The community has raised me up, with their support and their love."

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