Project Overview


First Love Foundation

Grant Amount


Award Date

March 2020


Homelessness, Food Security & Housing

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30 tonnes of food
and toiletries
1,826 hours
of phone support
7 days

First Love started in 2010 to offer crisis support and runs an advice service in conjunction with its food bank. Tower Hamlets has the highest rates of child poverty in London, and First Love distributes over 30 tonnes of donated food a year via its services, which are signposted to vulnerable families via a network of community referral partners.Typically the food banks offer 3-day packages to 100 or so clients a month, but demand is rising as a result of Covid-19. 

As part of First Love’s Covid-19 response, they have launched a befriending service targeting people experiencing loneliness in lockdown and have continued to provide food support through food banks.

In response to the pandemic, First Love switched to a remote, emergency model crafted in line with the government guidelines with the aim to ensure they fed and supported those in need as safely and efficiently as possible. They became a vital resource to the public, putting them right on the frontline as key workers. The biggest changes to their operations were moving away from the face to face twice-weekly held crisis sessions (where they  provide access to holistic support, welfare rights advice and emergency food support) to operating this support over the phone, with food support being delivered straight from their warehouse right to the recipient’s door. 

From 16th March – 5th July, First Love saw a 900% increase in referrals. This equated to providing over 30 tonnes of emergency food and toiletries to the homes of 3,726 vulnerable adults and children in Tower Hamlets and totalling over 1,826 hours of advice and support given over the phone. 

Isla’s grant allowed First Love to provide food support throughout lockdown and increase their supply from 5 to 7 days. They were able to meet every single need of all the people that have been referred to their service. 

“As we prepare for what is set to be the hardest Christmas yet, for many of those living in poverty, we feel confident we have the model to meet the challenge. We are incredibly grateful and thankful to you for your support and generosity as we work on the front line of this pandemic.”