Friday, July 10, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Cycle Diaries!

It’s been a really busy day on the road with #foodbike #bookbikelondon with over 20k clocked today. All during a week when East End Cycles became my new sponsor to help me with my cycle servicing needs. 

I’ve had one cycle stolen and gained a £50 donation for a new one and a free service and new back up team.

There’s been food packs delivered to mental health patients on behalf of HCC Foodbank and books with #bookbikeondon

From my Stock from The Literacy Trust I was able to deliver Elephant Me by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Guy Parker Rees.

One thing I’m realising as lockdown eases is that the issues which affect our vulnerable remain very much at large. 

Just because things are opening up because of mostly economic reasons there’s no magic wand to make infection rates disappear and cure people magically. 

Many people are still ill, vulnerable and suffering and nothing’s changed there. Covid-19 has simply bought these horrors out into the open and the easing of lockdown doesn’t mean all is miraculously back to normal again.

My request to grassroots community groups is to continue your brilliant engagement. 

Your resources may be meagre but your hearts are massive. 

It’s what we are all in it for!

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Fizz & Sparkle!

I was unable to get to the Mandarin Hotel today to meet Marie-Elise and the team. I can’t sit down and do nothing so focussed on local matters instead.

The London Essence Co have donated 1000 cases of 24 x 200ml Britvic London Essence Plain Soda Water, which we have been sharing with our partners at the #BDFoodnetwork and beyond.

This is a joint partnership between #humdumuk and the #hccfoodbank

Our distribution has seen water being provided to Mosques, churches, synagogues, local elderly, homebound, people with mental health and the homeless and rough sleepers.

For all aspiring volunteers - Work with Nighat if you want to gain an insight into real grassroots community service.


Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Dagenham & Redbridge FC Food Hub

Sir Geoff Hurst once told me
When I was not much younger 
Football can more than do it’s bit
To help beat widespread hunger

At Dagenham & Redbridge FC
They serve all colours and ages
Hedgecock put the needy first
While a global pandemic rages 

Football serves covid kindness
With Chris, Ben, Bel and Steffy 
Humdum busy sharing comfort 
Mental elf, homeless, the elderly

07 07 20

© emdad rahman

We may never ever experience a period like this in again and it’s hugely important how we record the amazing contributions of our clubs - Many of whom may not even survive this gloomy period themselves!

Big up to our Hedgecock Community Centre and Humdum Foodbanks for co-ordinating!

#coronachronicles #thewanderinglondoner

The Corona Chronicles - East End Cycles becomes #bookbikelondon Sponsor!

I’m best pleased to announce that East End Cycles are my new cycle sponsors and Hussain and the his team will be supporting me with #bookbikelondon #foodbike #medibike and all my community cycling outreach projects.

I am very lucky and privileged that East End Cycles chose an amateur like me out of all the thousands of amazing cyclists out there. 

This is simply about a local community enterprise supporting a local cyclist and local causes.

My cycle recently got stolen (I need two). East End Cycles repaired, serviced and sorted my punctured tyre out, which happened whilst doing my cycle outreach food pack deliveries to local mental health patients after my visit to Dagenham & Redbridge FC early this morning.

Thank you for having faith in me and I greatly look forward to working with the team going forward.


Monday, July 06, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Now more than ever!

A slow but consistent approach is always better and far reaching and effective. I’ve had a recipient crying on the phone today at the sheer horror and prospect of not seeing a friendly face, having a chat, and receiving a food pack.

It’s a week of stock taking, deliveries, deliveries, and deliveries.

Lockdown may be easing as life returns to normal but the needs of community are still there.

It is now crucial that those involved in volunteering and aid work assess and revamp their client lists to ensure that the most vulnerable are not forgotten.

We are lucky to have excellent partners but boy is it hard work when you’re juggling a job and home duties.

I love it all though.

I need a volunteer black taxi for Wednesday lunchtime please to collect food from Mandarin Hotel, Hyde Park and deliver to #homeless friends. Please get in touch!

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Corona Chronicles - Reviewing lockdown!

#dagenham88 are on it. Great to be with teammates on Foodbank duties. 

We might do a training run which will involve picking up food parcels and running to drop them off at local homeless hostels.

The Hedgecock Community Centre is an inclusive initiative.

We welcome anyone and everyone to volunteer and we serve everyone and anyone.  We steer clear of politics.

Today we discussed future plans and outlined what we are already doing in term of operations.

- Foodbank deliveries to the vulnerable, isolating, shielding.
- Hosting Foodbank collections.
- Volunteers packing and welcoming visitors.
- Hot food distribution
- Serving hot, cold, ready foodstuffs to homeless hostels.
- Networking with local refugee hostels and support organisations.
- Outreach food programme with rough sleepers.
- Teaming up with #hospitalityagainsthomelessness
- Weekday outreach programme with food parcel drops to residents who are elderly, disabled and who live with mental health.
- Networking with local support groups - An excellent initiative co-ordinated by Humdum UK and Nighat.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Many heads, one cause!

Pasta Remoli delivery and a treat for our local #homeless friends ‬

‪Thanks to Simone Remoli and Pabel for the drop off!‬

‪#hospitalityagainsthomelessness Dulal Ahmed from Crisis, Only A Pavement Away, Greg Mangham have enabled our grassroots operations to take the leap to the the next level. 

The food quality is high end and at the Hedgecock Community Centre we are able to:

- Spread our services to the homeless community
- Share surplus food with refugees and asylum seekers
- Deliver to the disabled, homebound elderly
- Operate an outreach programme to provide meals on wheels (along with meals in two wheels).

This is as a direct result of ongoing support and generosity from our partners.

Together we have a unique case where we are all making a massive difference by reaching out to those who are often neglected when aid is distributed.

‪#theanfieldtourist #thewanderinglondoner‬ #homeless

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - From the Mandarin Oriental with love!

‪There is a distinct process involved in serving others.‬

The issues which affect our community remain at large whether we have a pandemic or not.

‪From costing, sourcing, procuring, preparing, cooking, delivery and consumption, each stage is filled with compassion, gratitude and a desire to make a real and lasting difference.‬

Manya has become a good friend since I met her at #onethirdsoupkitchen She’s a former nurse who’s fallen on hard times and always asks me to share her story so that “it may help others!”

I can sadly see her deteriorating week by week and she has been in and out of hostels since losing her home last year.

She’s asked me to personally pass her thanks to Dulal from Crisis UK, Greg, Only a Pavement Away, Marie-Elise, Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park and everyone else. As a former nurse she understands all about compassion for all irrespective of who they are and where they’re from.

Video... Today’s delicious food... delivered with love.

‪Thanks to Alex and Sam from the Literacy Trust I have a treasure trove of amazing book titles for #bookbikelondon‬ and #HCCfoodbank

‪Me and Dulu dropped the first batch to Barking Elim Church today for families and #homeless patrons‬

‪Local drop offs are available for shielding families, the elderly, vulnerable whilst stocks last. 

Today is also the start of my July #100milechallenge for Lonely Orphans.

If you’d like to sponsor my challenge to support orphans for the upcoming Eid please get in touch!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - An ambulance service for the neighbourhood!

Thought I’d hire a suave and sophisticated model today to reinforce and hammer home the Riral Development Foundation message!

Delighted to share the fantastic news that we’ve got our first ambulance ready which will shortly be sent to Bangladesh to serve the needy people of Sunamganj in Jagannathpur and surrounding areas of Sylhet.

The ambulance will be used to support women by providing them access to antenatal support during pregnancy and after childbirth.

Apart from this we intend to make full use of this great vehicle by using it to help assist the ill, infirm, elderly and homebound.

This will be a groundbreaking and deeply valuable service for the local people and I’m really excited to share this brilliant service with you all.

You may all be already aware that a team of ten of us will be visiting Bangladesh as Team RDF Ultras to deliver aid to the needy and disadvantaged. This is subject to clearance. The ambulance project is just one of many I’m really passionate about delivering long term.

There’s so much to do in so little time.

If you’d like to help me fund the next ambulance for Rural Developmemt Foundation Global, refurb and upgrade it with medical equipment to serve a very needy community then please get in touch with me directly.

#rdfglobal #coronachronicles
#theanfieldtourist #thewanderinglondoner

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Black Lives Matter!

Black Lives Matter is not about denying the fact that all lives matter. It is about highlighting the gross historical and modern day injustices faced by people of colour.

The current global upheaval has shown just how fractured we are as a community. It has shown many a person in their true light too. 

This is a great opportunity to educate ourselves about our history and use this to positively shape our tomorrows. 

If you’re uncomfortable with that then you need to take a long hard look in the mirror.

A totally awesome Retro Run!

I love the 90’s Virtual Run

If you consider Blur Vs Oasis the biggest battle in music history, mastered your ‘girl power’ high kick as the 6th member of the Spice Girls or revelled in the boom of Grunge or Electronic sound, the I love the 90s virtual run combines running with the feel good factor, questionable fashion and top music that the very colourful decade brought to us.

To mark the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s 30th Anniversary and to launch the new Retro Running Series the Foundation is hosting an ‘I love the 90s’ virtual run and you’re all invited to crimp your hair, wipe down your Smash Hits Posters and  use the ultimate 90s playlist to either get you warmed up before your run or have your very own running rave.

Simply sign up to one of the distances, choose if you would like to complete your run in one go or over a number of days and complete your run throughout the month of June.

Please note that all medals and the I love the 90’s technical top will be sent out at the end of June no matter when you complete the event, so anyone who completes their run at the start of June won’t receive a medal until the end of June.

Every person that takes part will gain access to the ultimate 90s playlist as well as an exclusive retro medal and running buff once the run is complete.

Even better, anyone who raises or donates £25 will receive an exclusive I Love the 90’s technical top!

Fancy dress is optional, dancing is encouraged and a banging 90s playlist is a must.

Staying safe and protecting others

It is absolutely vital that those taking on a virtual run follow the Government instructions. Under the current instructions (Published 11/05/2020), you are allowed to exercise outdoors as often as you wish. However, you must remain a safe distance from anyone else. This is a minimum of 2 metres.

The virtual challenge will run throughout June, so if you have selected a distance that will push you beyond your current capability, you are encouraged to do this over a number of days, as your health is most important and your 90’s virtual run shouldn’t compromise your immune system in any way. 

You are taking on this challenge in support of those living with lung cancer. They are at high risk of serious illness if they contract this virus, so please make sure you only take on this challenge in line with the latest Government instruction and stay safe.

Sign up options

Register for race only (£9)
Register for race plus an I Love the 90s technical top (£28)
All vests and tops will be sent out with medals following the end of the event.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Corona Chronicles: bookbikelondon century as Dad donates 100th book on Father’s Day!

If there is a real life hero it’s my Dad!

Today is the 100th book delivered by #bookbikelondon

I get my energy and drive from him. Dad paid for today’s book to be given to someone who may find it beneficial.

#bookbikelondon is a social enterprise project which involves me cycling to deliver books and crosswords to care homes, youth clubs and those who rely on books to get  through life.

Happy Father’s Day Dad - Keep being magic!

bookbike London is a social enterprise project which I started to combine my passion of cycling and books. 

bookbike is a green, free of charge service which connects people through reading. It’s a community project to supply books free of charge to elderly residential homes, hostels, prisons, hospital wards and local organisations in East London and surrounding boroughs. 

This involves me filling up a rucksack full of books and delivering to a local project or individuals.

I have been doing this in Barking, Redbridge, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney. 

bookbike is about supporting people through a passionate project. During the pandemic it’s been even more important to engage with people and through my volunteering I’ve come across so much isolation amongst local residents. 

A lot of people still don’t have internet access and a book and crossword has really helped them fight off anxiety and loneliness. Thanks to Dad for helping me reach a century. He’s my inspiration and is still going strong at the age of 82.

We have been delivering food to vulnerable residents during the pandemic through our Hedgecock Community Centre Foodbank and this has enabled me to deliver a book here and there. 

bookbike london has been running from last winter since Zoinul Abidin, ahead of Universal Services at Barking & Dagenham very kindly launchd the project at the Barking Learning Centre.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Delicious homeless treats from Mandarin Oriental

A job loss or a breakdown is all it takes for a persons life to completely crumble! 

For the second week running we met Marie Elise Lallemand and her marvellous team at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group - Hyde Park, London.

We are working together for the month of June to provide homeless friends with some of the most mouthwatering high end meals.

This is a real treat and it’s a total pleasure to be partnering up with such fantabulous people to serve the vulnerable and needy. 

Thank you Dulal Ahmed from Crisis, Greg Mangham from Only A Pavement Away, Jeni Edwards FIH, Janneke Diemel and Nicola Phillips for setting this all up!

Thanks to Muhammed Ali’s black cab we have free run of the city. The humble black cab is still a phenomenal icon of London and many times the great philanthropic efforts of big hearted cabbies are ignored. On top if all that I get a free ride and lunch too.

Today we have delivered to the fabulous Whitechapel Mission - Which has served the homeless and marginalised for 143 years. Despite the cancellation of the London 10K this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic I’m running my 13th 10k in a row this year for the Mission and still looking for sponsors to help me reach my target.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Football Aid with Dagenham & Redbridge FC

Every day is now literally Foodbank day. At #hccfoodbank we started off with one day but #covid19 has really highlighted the issues within our community.

I am now literally dropping off food seven days a week to vulnerable members of our community and this is simply a constant attempt to use all purpose filler on a huge variety of cracks which are worsening each day.

That’s your national austerity measures playing out nicely. 

Our uncoordinated efforts are simply the tip of the iceberg but I’m just really pleased we have such an excellent network to support and assist each other in reaching out to our community.

This weeks foodbank drop from Dagenham & Redbridge FC has been completed at a total of 30.2 kilometres.

There were five drops today. Cycling for me is the best way to get around the borough for this purpose. For one, it keeps me fit, enables me to meet the coolest people, get to be familiar with the neighbourhood and have no worries about parking up when delivering to recipients.

I tend to pick up from the club and deliver on the way home. It’s nice and satisfying to get back home with an empty rucksack after a tyre check, coffee and fizzy water stop at the Moklisur Rahman residence.

Today we had rice, pasta, oil and even a cereal bar for a lucky little guy playing on his doorstep. Sometimes the simplest acts are the most satisfying.

Many thanks to Nighat Bhola from Humdum UK for organising this great partnership.

I’ve had personnel from other clubs get in touch to ask how things work out here and I’ve simply explained that we share stock, assist, organise and guide each other, simply because our objectives are exactly the same. I’ve seen nobody hoard food and all parties in our network help lift the others.

It really is a simple yet brilliant system and the sole reason why we are so effective as a coalition.

Government austerity may be strangling communities but the dazzling diamonds are determined to shine bright.

Well done all! 


Friday, June 12, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara

Passion to serve through a shared vision is an unstoppable train #thewanderinglondoner

It might be lockdown but we are socially distancing busy bees and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I know some friends in their goodwill have said we should slow down but where’s the sense in engaging in community work for the whole year and then hibernating when a global catastrophe strikes.

I’m very pleased to meet the brothers from Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara (GMGG) and enjoy catching up and charging up on their energy.

If you want to get the gist of what I’m on about then go spend some time after lockdown serving alongside them - You can’t help but be inspired.

I personally have been in awe of the efforts of the Sikh community since I was a teenager and I’m privileged that I now have an opportunity to serve our community alongside them.

‪#gmggurdwarauk are providing wholesome, nutritious and delicious meals.‬ 

Feedback from our recipients at the #HCCFoodbank has been excellent‬!

Thank you to all the brothers and sisters for the way you motivate through your exemplary duty of helping others.

‪#gmggurdwarauk are continuously providing wholesome, nutritious and delicious meals.‬ 

Feedback from our recipients has been excellent‬!

I’m proud to stand beside you!

#hccfoodbank #theanfieldtourist #thewanderinglondoner

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Period Poverty

According to Action Aid Period poverty affects women and girls all over the world. Access to sanitary products, safe, hygienic spaces in which to use them, and the right to manage menstruation without shame or stigma, is essential for anyone who menstruates.

But for many, this is not a reality. This is not just a potential health risk - it can also mean women and girls’ education, well-being, and sometimes entire lives are affected.

Full Fact UK describe period poverty as the term used to describe when women and girls struggle or are unable to afford menstrual products and the impact this has on them.

Our #humdumuk hub is a happy ship and it’s great to catch up with the #BDfoodnetwork family to catch up, bounce ideas and share practises.

Every time I meet this bunch I come away with sound new ideas.

Apart from fresh fruit and veg Nighat gave me twenty sanitary pads  and sanitary kits which went like hot cakes when I did my rough sleepers street outreach cycle round a little later. 

My rather large rucksack was empty within ten minutes. I had to put aside ten packs for the fair ladies at the Ryedale Centre homeless hostel where the rest of the fruit and veg were dropped off.

Period poverty is very real ladies and gentleman and is  nothing short of a human embarrassment.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - A visit to Mandarin Oriental

Homelessness is not a disease. It is most often a result of unfortunate circumstances and turn of events which a person rarely has control over. 

With the support of Dulal Ahmed from Crisis and Greg Mangham, CEO and Founder of Only a Pavement Away me and Ali bhai took a lunch hour tour of the West End today in his black cab where we met with Marie-Elise and her crack unit at the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London, which has been prominent in supporting the vulnerable. We are very to be working with such a humble group and big name establishment.

When you share a vision it doesn’t matter which end of the spectrum you’re at because the magnetic energy will draw you all together.

Today we picked up 150 simply delicious and irresistible vegetarian meals for our homeless support with some being delivered to Ryedale Care Home rough sleepers hostel and Brocklebank Lodge homeless hostel. The rest I kept behind to share amongst homeless friends in Barking Town Centre as part of my rough sleepers bicycle outreach, otherwise known as #foodbike - an extension of #bookbikelondon

We also visited the Ryedale Care Centre which is housing rough sleepers as part of the local authority’s efforts to shield and isolate during the coronavirus pandemic.

‪Dulal and Greg have both been crucial in all this. It’s genius how they’ve mapped it out so paths connect and energies combine to extraordinary effect.

Emma is the sixth #homeless friend I’ve bumped into at Barking Town Centre who has been a regular visitor at #onethirdsoupkitchen

Oddly enough she hasn’t a clue about rough sleepers being put up in Hostels and has continued sleeping rough whilst trying to scrimp together a few pounds each day for food, drink, warmth.

She’s usually very jolly but seemed really down today and blamed it on the drizzle.

I told her I had a real treat from the Mandarin Oriental. I confessed to Emma that it was the first time I’d served food from a high end establishment. I couldn’t resist and joined her in eating one veggie pack too. I’m Diabetic so I blamed it on that.

It was delicious!

So thanks to Marie-Elise, Dulal and Greg, we have engaged on three levels today whilst serving #homeless friends.

1. Rough street sleepers
2. Homeless individuals and families in hostels
3. Rough sleepers in temporary Coronavirus accommodation

I’ve passed on hostel info to Emma for Crisis UK but have a feeling I’m going to have to take her there myself.

Let’s see what happens eh?

So, for the rest of June our team will be working closely with the aforementioned trio to supply various homeless projects I know with 150 meals a week.

It’s amazing how uplifting the gift of food is and today has been a real treat not only for the recipients but the volunteers too.

YouTube  HERE and HERE!


Tuesday, June 09, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Dagenham & Redbridge FC Food Hub!

Yes, that’s bog roll and not a rocket pack on my shoulder.

Dagenham & Redbridge FC are delighted to be working with the Vanarama National League and Football Food Aid in association with the British Red Cross, to establish a Food Donation Hub.

Today I cycled over to pick up a jumbo food load from the clubs food hub.

I met a committed team who are supplying food and essentials to local organisations as part of a united effort to help vulnerable members of our community.  

During these difficult times the Hedgecock Community Centre Foodbank is serving several residents who are living with mental health and we have been boosted in our efforts by our community network. 

Thanks to The Daggers food hub I was able to deliver some essentials to our vulnerable recipients who require ongoing support during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Thanks to Humdum UK @fannybliss and @daggersfcofficial I was able to visit six vulnerable friends today. Each one has complex needs. Each one had a broader smile than the last!

A valuable lesson I’ve learnt through community work is it doesn’t matter whether you have financial muscle, big degrees or connections in high places.

I can proudly say that I’ve never ever had to go to a wealthy benefactor with my cap in hand, ready to sell my self worth for a few shillings.

Truth is the community have taken care of my appeals; family, friends, colleagues and complete strangers.

If you are sincere in serving your community then it will all fall into place as your positive energy will attract the right people - Those who share your vision, through whom you can bounce off ideas, be inspired and develop your passions.

We may be almost over the hill but the lasting effects of this global pandemic on people’s wellbeing in general remains to be seen.

The economy will recover and take care of itself as long as we put the people first.

Thank you magical people!


Monday, June 08, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Supported accommodation for homeless friends!

The thing with rough sleeping friends is you don’t know what their destination is from one day to the next.

Barking & Dagenham seems a bit of a magnet during Covid-19 and I’ve bumped into quite a few people who I’ve had the pleasure of their company at #onethirdsoupkitchen

I met Marie in the Town Centre today and we had a chat. She has had to leave her hostel as she is needs to be as far away from a particular person as possible for her safety and well being.

There are many rough sleepers like Marie who feel safer on the streets rather than within the four walls of a residential home. She really appreciates the efforts made for her but her sanity and state of mind come first.

It says a lot to me when a person feels more at ease on the streets and begs the question... Should more investment be made in social or permanent supported housing? I feel a cool, kind hearted lady like Marie can get herself together again with a little help and assisted living support.

It would do wonders for her well being and mental health in general.

Ruh sent me a new sleeping bag for Manya and inspiring six year old Princess Amaira had bought sanitary items and toiletries with her parents Almaruf and Nazia. I made a judgement call and passed the contents of my rucksack onto Marie as she is just as needy at this time. I’ll just have to repeat the trick again for Manya.

Our plans don’t always go accordingly and there’s always plot twists and turns.


Saturday, June 06, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - The power of networking...

Here’s how we operated Foodbank day!

Tonnes of food from Nighat and Humdum UK, milk and bread from the Bethel Centre, Barking, food from two supporting organisations. 

I am very keen on the Humdum model and very impressed by the way the team have bought together all community support organisations. 

Thank you Simone and Pasta Remoli for the delicious home cooked pasta which which was delivered by volunteers at the Hedgecock Community Centre Foodbank to our vulnerable and homebound recipients today! 

Many thanks to our very own Dulal Ahmed from Crisis and Greg Mangham, Only a Pavement Away for facilitating this.

Thanks to the power of networking we are able to provide nourishment to those in need. The Hedgecock Community Centre Foodbank is operating a strict policy and our volunteers are betting and reviewing cases on an ongoing basis. We focus and encourage independence and will now be encouraging food parcel collections by recipients soon. 

There are some special cases who will continue to receive deliveries, residents who are disabled physically and mentally, the elderly and infirm. 

We also received a delivery of delicious food from GMG Gurdwara - We make a terrific team here.

Our recipients are upfront and honest. The feedback from them has been excellent with regards to the quality and taste of the vegetarian dishes.

I’ve always admired the efforts of my Sikh brothers and sisters and their sheer single mindedness when it comes to selfless community service.

Their efforts are really inspiring. I’ve observed their practises for years and learnt so much to boot.

Stay blessed everyone - You are all a shining example of humanity and we are so proud to work with you.