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The West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Waheed Saleem has given £4,000 to a community project to provide food and support to the most vulnerable in society throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Waheed Saleem is using money seized from criminals to pay for the Sikh Soup Kitchen Coronavirus Support Project in the Handsworth area of Birmingham.

The Sikh Soup Kitchen feed up to 600 vulnerable, elderly and homeless people every week in this current COVID-19 pandemic, including providing daily living essentials such as milk, bread, tea, coffee, sandwiches and snacks to them.

The project also provides social support to the vulnerable and elderly. By offering friend to talk to, so that they do not feel alone or distressed at this difficult time.

The new Community Initiatives Fund is funded from money which has been allocated from items seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The Community Initiatives Fund provides support voluntary and community activity to help vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis.

Following a surge in voluntary and community activity to help vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, has made £200,000 available over the next six months, to support active citizenship within local communities. This money comes from items seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act and must go to community projects and cannot be spent on recruiting officers.

The money provided from the Community Initiatives Fund will go towards proving food so that the project can continue to deliver meals to the most vulnerable in society.

The project supports the local community in this difficult time and helps to ensure that those who are vulnerable are able to care for themselves and not having to rely on others who may take advantage of their situation.

As well as providing food the Sikh Soup Kitchen also offers to pick up prescriptions for the elderly and key workers. Currently, the picking up of prescriptions is supporting the elderly, isolated, vulnerable, homeless, low income families, BAME groups and those with underlying health issues.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Waheed Saleem said: “Through our Community Initiatives Fund, a total of over £200,000 will be ploughed back into the local community over the next six months. The Sikh Soup Kitchen are doing a magnificent job in supporting the most vulnerable people in their community. I am delighted we have been able to make this £4,000 grant to support their vital work, and paid for by money seized from criminals.”

“In times of great uncertainty we rely on our local communities to pull together and to provide support for those who are most vulnerable and that is what the Community Initiatives Fund is about, supporting local organisations who are working to make a real difference in their community.

“The Sikh Soup Kitchen has done excellent work providing meals and support for some of the most vulnerable members of their society and I am pleased we have been able to provide funding for them.

A spokesperson for the Sikh Soup Kitchen said: “The Sikh Soup Kitchen is a community hub where volunteers with the love for Guru Nanak Dev Ji have come together to serve humanity. 

“We initially began life as a Street food bank whereby any member of our community could benefit. This includes hundreds of individuals on no or low incomes, including many older people, those with disabilities, rough sleepers and asylum seekers and migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds.

“The Pandemic of 2020 unfolded a massive void in safeguarding for the low income, homeless and vulnerable parts of the community and with the support of Gurdwara Baba Deep Singh Shaheed and Gurdwara Pita Kalu Sahib we have been able to deliver over 10,000 meals to the door with Project Coronavirus Support Delivery Service and Project Street Food Bank. Our main priority has also been in ensuring the safety of everyone who comes to our street food bank – whether it’s someone needing help, someone volunteering their time, or someone making a donation.

“With the Support of the Community Initiatives Fund we will be able to continue serving the vulnerable of Handsworth and also buy crucial equipment for The Sikh Soup Kitchen organisation”.  

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