In his latest monochrome photo article, Sean Organ meets the inspiring landlord of a pub in Birmingham, England. The Station Pub has become the heart of another community project that offers food and essentials to those in need through the UK lockdowns.
The Birmingham Community Solidarity Group came to me to ask to use our fridges to store sandwiches for the homeless. So we did that for a couple of weeks. Then I just thought: what else could I do to generate food? There was a real need. Could we get the local community involved? Using social media local groups got together and it all started to flow from there really.Darren Paul, Landlord of The Station Pub (Birmingham, UK)
We asked the community to donate food, so 30 or 40 streets got involved. They deliver their food and we bag it up and send it out to families, individuals, the elderly. Social workers collect food, teachers collect and we have job centres sending people down.
In the beginning, we were sending probably 30 parcels a day, and that slowly increased to 50. In the third lockdown we decided that we could let people collect parcels. And now we’ve had up to 200 visitors a day.
In this third lockdown, demand is much higher. I never used to have to worry about food stock, about how much we had, because food would keep coming in. We have enough, but now I have to source food throughout the week.
Support comes from across the board from individuals and community streets. Then we’ve got organisations like Suede, The Junk Food Project, The Active Wellbeing Society all supporting us as well as supermarkets: Sainsbury’s, ALDI, Tesco’s, Waitrose all helping.
We have done some other initiatives throughout the lockdown. We collected 3000 Christmas presents for kids at Christmas.
And at the moment we’ve got another one – we’re collecting computers. We’ve collected nearly 50 computers and laptops to send out to schools. So anyone that has an old laptop or an old tablet gathering dust, they can bring it here and we can send it out to schools.
People in this local area can join the Kings Heathen’s group and get involved with the street collections. They can message us and donate food.| The Station on Facebook | The Station on Twitter |