Monday, June 01, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - New face on the block!

I visited X today after his partner called me. He’s been in isolation for 12 weeks. When I visited him with a foodpack he came out to greet me and said it was the first time in 3 months he’d stepped outside.

X was squinting and rubbing his eyes profusely. It was clear he was having difficulty adjusting his eyes to natural light again.

I sent him packing inside. He hasn’t starved but they’ve been living on bread, milk and water all this time. I couldn’t and didn’t want to verify his revelation. He just didn’t strike me as someone who’d exaggerate. 

Let’s just say we at the #HCCfoodbank team are delighted to provide immediate and ongoing support.

Honestly, this is Britain!


Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Corona Chronicles: Al Noor Masjid Gascoigne Foodbank!

#MasjidAlNoor on the Gascoigne Estate has a dedicated team of volunteers who are focussing on serving the estate and surrounding localities in the borough of Barking & Dagenham.

The majority of the team are from the local and vibrant Tanzanian community. They are a credit to a diverse borough which just over a decade ago had several BNP Councillors at the town hall - dividing the community with a warped message, which included using immigrants as scapegoats for negative issues which affected local people.

The Trust has a dedicated Foodbank area as well as space for cold storage. Once complete it will play host to one of the best facilities of this nature in East London.

It was a pleasure joining the team to help out on today’s operations.

Al Noor Masjid is inclusive and will serve everybody and anybody who needs a little bit of help. The service is discreet and deliveries or pick ups can be arranged. 

I witnessed this statement in action as we were leaving the Masjid. On the doorstep behind us in the group picture were a father and son duo from the local hostel. They were both drunk and drinking within the Mosque boundaries. No harsh words were exchanged and two team members quickly prepared another foodpack which was handed over. Both said thank you and went and sat a little away from the entrance. 

There are positive lessons in exercising patience and compassion. 

Mbarak Said from Al Noor Cultural and Educational Trust commented, “We are a fairly new community but we are passionate and reluctant to see our community remain disadvantaged. 

“This is why we took the decision to complement our local authority and provide additional support during these hard times to those who need it most. We are here for everybody.”

If anyone would like to donate food then here is a list:

- Tea
- Biscuits
- Beans
- Cereals
- Soup
- Pasta or noodles
- Tuna


WhatsApp number +447305243259

#gascoignefoodbank #coronavirus #coronachronicles #thewanderinglondoner

Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Get well soon Stu!

Met my good friend Stu today and told him that #onethirdsoupkitchen had served yesterday. He looks really bedraggled and told me he’d recently been stabbed by another homeless person who seemed mentally unfit.

Poor Stu needed stitches at the hospital.

He says he needs help with paperwork and ID and has a lawyer who’s helping him get his matters in order.

Stu tells me that although he has a place to sleep at the local hostel it’s not easy living there, with little privacy and difficulty with social distancing.

He’s not complaining - I can testify Stu’s not like that all. He’s an educated and gracious gentleman who’s fallen on hard times following a long career in the army.

Stu has a story that will resonate with most people - especially the working class. He lost his job, struggled to pay bills, buy food and generally stay afloat. Unemployment has had a massive impact on his mental and physical health. All this has led to a rapid downward spiral and apparent loss of control.

Stu isn’t bitter though. He loves reading James Patterson and the bible (not particularly in that order though!).

Today he told me, “I’m rising Emz, I’m making a full comeback son!” I don’t doubt him. People have recovered from worse. It’s just that he seems out of it and there’s something in his eyes that’s got me a little worried.

After lockdown we’ve agreed that he might volunteer at the soup kitchen.

It’s a start I suppose.

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - One Third Soup Kitchen!

Exclusive figures from the UCL Collaborative Centre for Inclusion Health, seen by the Guardian, show that those living in London’s homeless hostels are 15 times more likely to die from Coronavirus.

There are an estimated 11,000 rough sleepers in England. More than 5,400 rough sleepers known to councils have been offered accommodation since March but there are still more than 35,000 homeless people living in hostels across the UK.

The One Third Soup Kitchen team were at Stratford with homeless friends today. Although we have suspended delivering the core team have been active throughout the Coronavirus pandemic!

‪We have suspended volunteering so very thin on the ground at the moment - Just me and Dulu with sandwiches from Humdum UK.

Met Jamie today after three years. He’s a young man now. Got a beard, long hair, the works.

He’s asked for a picture so we can compare notes since we last had a go on his skateboard when he was a whippersnapper.

‪Despite lockdown there were lots of homeless friends out and about. We also had visits from many many who have really, really struggled! during lockdown.

Lots of new faces today. I think we did the distancing thing perfectly too.

Introducing pattern hanah ©️

Just before lockdown our very own Ruhul was invited by the one of the largest departments in the country to present the first edition of pattern hanah ©️ - research findings which provide an alternative to passwords, passphrases, PINs and/or tokens (to what he abbreviated to P3T), using biometric modality and Machine Learning/AI. 

In 2016, Ruhul achieved a higher award from the University of Royal Holloway - a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Information Security. The university has been regarded as a world leader in the Information Security field, since the early 90s. Royal Holloway remains highly respected and Ruhul is grateful for the support of his teachers and mentors, including one of the UK’s leading professors in Crytpography, Professor Fred Piper. 

The technology pattern (ph©️) introduces principles and methods that could support a seamless authentication journey to digital services, over the traditional access using username+passwords and/or multi-factor authentication (MFA), such as time-based one time passwords (TOTP), like receiving codes on your mobile phone, voicemails or authentication app.   

The ph©️Phase 1 Ruhul worked on, achieved a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Technology with a Distinction from the University of Portsmouth. 

Speaking about his research Ruhul commented, “This is a drive towards making positive changes that can help others. It’s about finding ways to make something easier, so that many others can benefit.”

What an inspiration!

The Corona Chronicles - Island Network delivers 2,000th meal

The Island Networks Covid19 support on the Isle of Dogs has delivered its 2,135th food pack since lockdown started.

Island Network volunteers distribute weekly meals and food packs to over 150 needy residents on the Island 2-3 times a week. 

“I am proud to say that, including today, since 21st February we have distributed over 2,135 meals and food packs to local elderly and vulnerable residents,” said Island Network Chair Maium Miah Talukdar. 

“I am also really proud that we as a team are making a difference in the community. We are at least making people smile during this crisis! Once again, a massive thanks to our volunteers and to One Housing Group for funding  us for the last 15 weeks.

“I would also like to thank all our Island Network partner community organisations, our sponsors, Canary Wharf Group, Nisa Local, Docklands Halal Grocery, the Bhaji take away, All Seasons Foods, and Rakesh Patel from Cyclops Mews. We are grateful to them for supporting our COVID-19 outreach work. Without such widespread support, it would have been impossible to serve our vulnerable residents.”

For further information please contact Maium Miah Talukdar, Island Network Chair on 07983 798 791.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Rough sleepers outreach!

I went to visit Nighat and Chef today at Humdum to collect a backpack full of sandwiches, salads, fruits and a few bottles of drinks for a local centre which supports homeless friends. 

It didn’t quite work out that way...

left the Ripple Centre, stopped off at Iceland for some home shopping and spotted a homeless pal. He got a sandwich, fruit, drink, spotted another cluster, then another famished group sitting on a bench in the town centre, and so on.

I didn’t even reach my intended destination before my stock of 37 sandwiches, plenty salads, fruit pots etc were all gone. Even the Diet Coke Nighat had given me to keep hydrated and which I’d clearly been swigging had gone. 

It may still be lockdown but many are out and about and even feel it’s safer on the streets as isolation for them is only a theory.

Humdum has been a revelation for me personally. I can walk in whenever I like to see Nighat, stock up, deliver and come back to replenish. It’s enabled me to engage with rough sleepers - who’ve always been my number one priority. 

I’m now going to add another string to the bow and focus a little on street outreach. Following the expected easing of lockdown One Thord Soup Kitchen will be firing on all cylinders again. We have been concentrating on home deliveries and hostels since Covid-19 lockdown came into effect and the volunteers are raring to go. 

Thanks to our BD Food Network #bookbikelondon and #foodbike continue to evolve for the better.

In July I will run 10k on the originally scheduled day of the London 10k. It would’ve been my 13th in a row for homeless friends who are served by the fantastic Whitechapel Mission. If anyone would like to spare a few pounds then please use this secure link and don’t forget to Giftaid -


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Strength in numbers!

Any active relief work requires effective partnership and I have two great examples from today. If anyone tells you otherwise then the reason they can achieve any level of consistency is because they must have a rich benefactor bankrolling their efforts and in that case they certainly won’t need a crutch. 

From Crisis in London E1 we had Innocent Smoothies, crisps and drinks by the shedload today for distribution. 

The East End Covid-19 Support Network distributed to homeless residents at Booth House and local outlets. 

Later on Ayaz and I took part in some community networking to deliver food to the homeless, vulnerable and needy. 

Thanks to everyone involved in combining excellent team work to deliver such superb community service. 

Thanks to Melanie Mort at Thomas Franks Ltd, Savona Foods, Only a pavement away, Dulal Ahmed from Crisis and Greg Mangham for your ongoing support of our grassroots activities. 

We have delivered our donations to The Welcome Project, which provides many services to men and women who are homeless from its purpose built Day Centre in Ilford. The project helps enable Homeless and Vulnerable Adults to live independent, healthy and fulfilled lives.

How’s this for a case of a united network partnership?

‪I represented One Third Soup Kitchen and HCC Foodbank as part of the BD Food Network collecting food from St Chad’s Church, Chadwell Heath on a #TeamMC bike, wearing my Our Lady St Joseph School issuer helmet, to deliver fresh food to Brocklebank Lodge homeless hostel!‬

‪Isn’t it magical how well we gel?


Monday, May 25, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Happy Istanbul Day!

On today’s #hccfoodbank drop I noticed the roads are busier and there’s quite a few reckless motorists who steer too close and drive too fast!

I felt a little nervous today and there were profanities a couple of times. At one point I realised I was muttering to myself, “At least I’ve ate Salam a plate of Salam Jones’ Hidol Satni!”

I’m more about front liners in general and the fantastic work everyone does which very often goes unnoticed and uncredited - cleaners, dinner ladies, teaching assistants, transporters, police, porters, orderlies, shelf stackers - You get the drift!

In solidarity with my club mates who have been taking part in the NHS appreciation flag relay I jogged the small distance to Barking Park to receive the flag from Timi and it was a real bank holiday treat to hand over to club legend Sam Veerasamy, who is still going strong well into his 70’s.

Sam has been an inspiration to me since I joined the club and is someone who only took up running after he officially retired. I’ve lost count how many marathons and half marathons he’s completed.

My club mate John Hughes is the brains behind this excellent initiative and I’m proud to have played my part.

Each runner signs the flag and makes a donation which will support the NHS.

Well done everyone for taking part.

On the subject of frontline workers I want to mention Yahya from Faircross Parade Co-op, Barking, who mans the tills, stacks the shelves and does whatever it takes to make sure the community is fed and watered!

Front liners like Yahya will never get the credit they deserve because they are not in glamour roles so I’ll just keep drumming on. I know if people in these roles who have taken sick leave or resigned from their jobs due to anxiety over handling front line roles.

Lastly... #HappyIstanbulDay

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Eid Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak one and all!

Sudden food overload means I’ve got the Delhi belly today 😅

Had a nervous time leading lockdown Eid Salah and Khutba at home what with Dad waiting to pounce rapid like a golden Eagle on any errors 🤣

He is sharp as a tack and clinical with it too 😂

Wishing you all a blessed Eid and Sunday. Unfortunately this year we can’t extend a home visit invitation to anyone who is isolating or needs company on this very special day but happy to do isolation visits with food, a book or just a doorstep chat.

Just like any other global celebration this is a time of great joy and celebration with loved ones but there are many who will be isolated and not be blessed with the company of friends and family. Some may be estranged, whilst others may be experiencing a crisis.

It is therefore important that we look out for all members of our community and networks and reach out through a call, text or our various social media.

Thanks to the internet the global community is closer than ever and a brief gesture can make a person’s day better altogether.

We are capable of magical things!

#hccfoodbank and #onethirdsoupkitchen are on standby for food pack requests. The Batphone is on... just in case...


Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Farewell Ramadan!

I don’t know about anyone else but I haven’t stopped cycling since Covid-19 lockdown started. 

I set a #Ramadan250k challenge which I hit this week with my Lonely Orphans 10K. Today I reached a personal milestone of completing my daily Ramadan cycle challenge. 

It’s been easy, no heatstroke, thirst, headaches. 

My trusty and loyal cycle has seen me through memorable moments during Ramadan and lockdown, helping collect and deliver food, medicine and novels for #bookbikelondon

Salam Jones’ work is vivid and inspiring. He does it from the heart with no financial recompense and his motivation is purely passion driven, to help make the world a better place... one click at a time. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see how much interest this fantastic compendium generated amongst the volunteers today when I delivered a copy of Bangladesh Diaries to the Hedgecock Community Centre.

Recently he’s been selling copies for his next appeal with 100% going towards his Leedo Eid Appeal 2020. 

During Ramadan he was supposed to host a photography exhibition, from which he planned to use the profits to supply 30 sewing machines to an organisation called Life Plus based in Hobiganj. 

This didnt happen and naturally it left him a little morose, but not for long. A few days ago he made a short video asking for a little contribution towards a special place in Dhaka thats very close to his heart. 

The Leedo Peace Home is a sanctuary to 50 strays, runaways, lost, or orphaned children. He wanted to send them a little gift for Eid and in return he promised to give everyone that donated £20 a free copy of his masterpiece.

He’s received a total of £1500 (after postage and packaging) to send to the Leedo Peace Home to supply all the children with new clothes for Eid. Any funds left over will be spent on medical supplies and replenishing their rapidly thinning larder. 

I have visited the Leedo Peace Home and it is a magical haven for children who have been subjected to countless and unmentionable horrors.

The appeal is now closed. 

The lesson here is this... 

You can sit there sulking and teary eyed or rise with a powerful uppercut. The latter is always better - There are fellow humans out there who need you!

HERE’S a video...

We are open during Eid to do drops to anyone who needs a food pack. 

Hope this blessed month has been fruitful.

Farewell O Ramadan - Until next year dear friend!

Eid Mubarak everyone!


Friday, May 22, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Friday Jumuah vibes at HCC Foodbank!

On the last Friday of Ramadan 2020 I’m pleased to announce that @ismaelr.86 and @grateful.ldn are the new sponsors of #bookbikelondon

May your enterprise blessed and your dreams come true!

You guessed it... the new sponsorship starts with my own football poetry book.

It was a real pleasure hooking up with Shaun who is from a community organisation in Barking and Dagenham called Company Drinks ( 

Based in Barking Park, the team have continued to pick and make soft drinks through the Covid-19 crisis, but on a much smaller scale operation, focusing more on Covid-support and care for volunteer groups, many of whom are vulnerable. 

Company Drinks came up with a lovely gesture to donate some drinks to community organisations like ourselves that support families in need of food and drinks supplies. 

So today Shaun delivered 60 bottles of delicious non alcoholic Elderflower cordial (30ml bottles), which have been picked by groups of volunteers, collected from their doorsteps, bottled by Company Drinks, and re-distributed back to their doorsteps (all following social distancing rules). 

The team at the Hedgecock Community Centre Foodbank are delighted to have received such excellent products to distribute with our Saturday food parcel deliveries. 

As we are their neighbours Company Drinks wished to share a little beyond their own isolating volunteer groups. 

This batch has also been prepared as an Eid treat for those recipients who have observed the month of Ramadan. 

What a fantastic gesture and what a terrific community we have. 

One Foodbank drop today and two medical pick ups and drop offs. 

I’ve achieved my #Ramadan250k but tomorrow I’ll hit the milestone if cycling every day during #Ramadan2020

The HCC Foodbank team will also be our in girls tomorrow before taking a very well earned break for Eid celebrations on Sunday in isolation. 

Stay safe everyone!


Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Foodbanks United!

Our BD Food Network has been a resounding success with likeminded and real grassroots community activists coming together to serve the neighbourhood with great gusto and zeal.

I’m really enjoying working with inspirational people and it is taking my own development up a few levels.

So thanks to Humdum Foodbank, the Hedgecock Community Centre Foodbank were able to collect this rather large consignment of bread and vegetables which will go out to our recipients this weekend.

It’s Eid weekend so things will be very jolly and festive in nature over the course of the next few days.

Nighat has delicious hot Kebab Roti tomorrow and Eid gifts for Humdum and also Hedgecock to distribute.

With the end of Ramadan and Eid celebration weekend 24 hours away it remains without saying that our collective services will remain open and we will be visiting our recipients with their foodpacks as standard.

Thanks to Pastor Obi (Barking Foodbank amongst other things) for the gloves.

Two foodpacks today and two medicine drops too.

Also stopped at Humdum Foodbank to collect a rucksack full of loafs of bread and ended up having to bring the cavalry over to collect all the surplus stock.

Stopped over to see Mosh and check that he really is working from home. Got my Eid pressie too - I can’t say what it is though.

I went out for a light 5K and ended up with almost 15k!

I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the volunteers who continue to give up their time for the common good.

As a reward you get to sort out all this stock and prepare for delivery.

Don’t say I don’t look after you!

On this note members of the #bdfoodnetwork would like to wish Eid Mubarak to one and all. 

May the spirit of Ramadan remain true within our lives, throughout the year. May we continue to stay strong and united as we work towards a people focussed legacy as we strive to deliver on our pursuits.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Knock out with Charlie Magri!

Not every day you meet a World champion boxer - Whilst I was delivering books to a care home for #bookbikelondon I bumped into the one and only Charlie Magri.

His partner is a care worker too and they both had loads of nice words for me.

Tina told me that books are always welcome in a care home and it helps many people in different ways - Be it individual reading of being read to by someone.

Charlie said he thought its a great little project which will bring happiness to a lot of people, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic

bookbikelondon connect through books, powered by a cycle. It combines two passions of mine and I’ve enjoyed having the community on board. Many of my friends have donated books and one has given me a cycle.

At work I usually use the #santandercycles religiously to get me out and about. Going forward I am hoping to develop the same project on my international charity trips.

You do get to see the world on a bike 🙂

The Corona Chronicles - Abdal’s Ramadan stair challenge!

Abdal’s Ramadan Orphan Challenge - Day 26  

Total stats to date: Floors: 546 Steps: 7644.

Today I joined Abdal and I can testify this is not an  easy task. So I’d gone into work and thought I’d do my bookbike rounds. En route I bumped into our world champion, the legendary Charlie Magri and took a few snaps before getting over to Canary Wharf. 

So this is a simple and ingenious lockdown challenge which ties in perfectly with what we do 12 months of the year. It also ensures we have maintained our Ramadan challenges without fail. 

Over the course of thirty days of lockdown and Ramadan 2029 Abdal will climb 630 floors with 8820 steps. 

The challenge is in aid of orphans and widows and will support the Whitechapel based Lonely Orphans. 

At the end of the day we’re just working class, second generation immigrants who are grafting to do our bit to try make the world a better place. 

Our success is your success and the two are intertwined, as without your support we wouldn’t be able to deliver zilch. 

With only a few days to go I want to say well done mate! Proud of our hero!

Short video HERE!


Monday, May 18, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Homeless London

Contrary to belief it takes real guts to accept food from a complete complete stranger.

Let me go further. It takes huge courage to even ask in the first place.

Most homeless friends I have had the pleasure of meeting and serving always have common interests. Quite a few who visit our soup kitchens simply want chat and mingle - They crave decent human connection where they’re not judged, over sympathised or belittled.

So a few days back I was introduced to Nadine from #DarMarrakech Stratford and we set in motion a plan to feed homeless and vulnerable people with tasty Moroccan food during the #Covid19 #Coronavirus #pandemic and subsequent lockdown period and month of #Ramadan

The food is out of this world and it’s a good thing I’m fasting because guaranteed I would’ve asked Nadine for an extra portion or three for myself.

On a serious note, this is a terrific example of our big hearted community.

Thanks Dar Marrakech for putting people before profits.

I’m very fortunate in that I have the backing of an extraordinary support network who I can rely on pretty much any time I need to. It enables me to spread the services amongst friends and family who may not be frontline but are the most fantastic back up team. 
Without them we’d have no causes to support.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Al Noor Mosque launches Gascoigne Estate Foodbank

A team of volunteers on the renowned Gascogne Estate have launch a new community foodbank to support local people.

The Al Noor Cultural & Educational Trust Foodbank is based on the Gascoigne Estate, one of the UK’s most poverty stricken wards, with high high levels of unemployment and single parent families.

Years of austerity measures and regeneration plans on hold mean more misery for residents of the neighbourhood and the launch at the Al Noor Mosque will come as a relief to a local community suffering with desperate levels of deprivation. 

Speaking after the launch Mbarak Said from Al Noor Cultural & Educational Trust Foodbank said, “We May live in an area where poverty levels are really high but we are a close knit community and we will do whatever it takes to support each other.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has had a horrific impact on us all but together we will get through this.”

The Foodbank has a live fundraising page HERE and readers are asked to support through donations and sharing the link. 

Foodpacks are delivered to local homes once a week. Telephone referrals can be placed by calling 07305 243 259.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - One week till Eid!

I’m on the look out for wordsearches if anyone would like to send a few my way. I’m been a nerd for years but now corrupted some of the senior citizens. 

Foodbank was pretty busy at the Hedgecock Community Centre today. 

With Eid a mere one week away we ponder how quickly the month has passed us by. Have we benefitted from the company of our illustrious guest?

It is our pleasure at the #hccfoodbank to be able to offer that little extra service during #covid19 and #Ramadan

A small number of our very needy recipients were given a personalised message and a little cash to add some Eid cheer.

This is after all a legacy project. 

Today’s food is courtesy of Munirah and friends. 

Today’s delicious hot food donors are Ritu, Harminder, Aniqa, Soofia, Sadaf, Aina, Asad and families.

I don’t even know why 70% our well wishers look like. 

Food sourced, delivered, lacked, loaded and delivered in three hours flat. 

What a team!


The Corona Chronicles - A taste of Marrakech!

I have been working with with Dar Marrakech, Stratford and wanted to pen a few words to pay tribute to the team. 

I was introduced to Nadine yesterday and have now access to a steady supply of hot foods for our projects supporting the homeless and vulnerable. 

On behalf of our East End Covid-19 Support Network team Rofikul collected piping hot food which has nourished a good few souls today. 

Thanks to the big hearts at Dar Marrakech we now have a partner on our wavelength. 

Nadine, if you’re reading this then can I pop over for a post Covid treat?

The Corona Chronicles - The Whitechapel Mission

The Whitechapel Mission has remained true to nature and kept its doors open throughout the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown to serve London’s homeless. 

The team have been practising social distancing with breakfast now being provided as a takeaway option. 

In addition to this a cold lunch is also on offer to guests. The regulars have been homed in Essex whilst recent visitors have been from the City. 

I’m pleased to report that there hasn’t been a single case of Covid-19, whether it be staff, or homeless guests. 

As part of risk evaluation volunteering has been suspended to adhere to recommendations on travelling during lockdown unless urgent.

Since 1876, The Whitechapel Mission has been called to serve the men and women caught in the cycles of poverty, hopelessness
and dependencies of many kinds, and to see their lives transformed to hope, joy and lasting productivity.

All this is done without public funding.

With no London 10k this year I haven’t been able to complete my 14th in a row so after discussing with Tony I will be doing my own 10k challenge. I’ve volunteered here almost 15 years and in my opinion a simply magnificent example of selfless service. Sue, Tony and the team have treated me like family which has been really important for me. 

Do watch this space as I will be seeking support from your good selves.

On behalf of our team at East End Covid-19 Support Abdal and I would like to thank our partners Dulal Ahmed from Crisis,  A Pavement Away, The Athenaeum Hotel and William Taylor Medi-C for a most fantastic array of fragrant toiletries.