Bank of Things offers free everyday essentials to young people

Pic: Bank of Things

Many young people in Lewisham will now have access to free everyday necessities from a ‘Bank of Things’ community donation hub that is being launched today.

The hub, which will follow a food bank approach, will provide items to young people facing hardships in the area, such as toiletries, cosmetics, sanitary products, stationery and revision guides.

‘Bank of Things’ is an initiative led and funded by the Young Mayor budget in partnership with Lewisham Local aimed at 11 to 25-year-olds.

Located at Unit 19 Lewisham Shopping Centre, the donation hub will be open to young people from 4 pm to 7 pm every Monday and Wednesday during term time. The space has been provided for free.

The donation hubs self-referral system will allow people to drop in, fill in a form and collect the items they need.

Bank of Things will be working alongside Lewisham Baseline and Youth Hub at Unit 19, which help young people into education, training and employment.

Former Young Mayor, Adam Abdullah, pioneered the project after he realised that many young people in the borough could not access the items they required to cope in their day-to-day lives.

Bank of Things Coordinator, Hannah Monteith, said: “Through his [Abdullah’s] involvement in the community, it became clear to him that some young people simply were not having their basic needs met, and this meant they were at a huge disadvantage in participating fully in their lives, be that educationally or emotionally.”

Monteith is responsible for the day-to-day running of Bank of Things and will be supported by a team of local employees and volunteers aged thirteen and above.

With 39% of children in Lewisham living in poverty, some people asked why the onus should be on young people to solve the issue of child poverty, arguing that the responsibility to provide these services should be on local authorities and the government.

However, Monteith said: “I think it is a testament to our young people in Lewisham that they feel empowered to take action and help to solve the issue that they see affecting the community they live in…Who better to understand the impact poverty has on the wellbeing of young people than the young people themselves?”

“This generation has grown up with underfunded and inadequate services across the board and been failed at every turn, they simply cannot depend on ‘grownups’ to meet their needs, so they have decided to be the change that they can so clearly see is needed,” she added.

Mayor of London, Damian Egan said: “Lewisham’s young people are an inspiration! Well done everyone, a beautiful project.”

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