Brixton Soup Kitchen is a community space for homeless people and Londoners in need by providing free food, support and company.
The South London-based soup kitchen on Coldharbour Lane provides hot meals, as well as a food bank and clothes bank. Service users also have access to legal advice, CV workshops, job guidance, advice on housing, and confidence-boasting coaching.
Brixton Soup Kitchen was founded in January 2013 by youth workers and Brixton residents, Solomon Smith and Mahamed Hashi. Their aim is to empower people in a warm and friendly environment – helping them gain the confidence and self-worth needed to get back on their feet.
The service was initially set up to help homeless people, however the Brixton Soup Kitchen founders saw that a large number of elderly people who were lonely and young people who had behavioural issues and may have been kicked out of school also needed support.
Mahamed Hashi said: “Food is a facilitator for engagement with people who find it hard to engage. We provide a warm safe environment for people who have been kicked out of communities and invite them to find themselves again and build relationships. It’s about giving them family back.”
Brixton Soup Kitchen and its founders have become legendary in the Brixton area as well as globally – garnering a strong following via social media and gaining the attention of celebrities, corporates and local businesses wanting to work with the support centre, as well as other places around the world wanting to replicate their model. Brixton Soup Kitchen rely on donations and volunteers to keep doing the work that they do.
The charity has enjoyed support from people ranging from footballer Rio Ferdinand, Joanna Lumley to the late Dame Tessa Jowell MP. It works with corporates such as Nandos, Greggs, and Marks and Spencer that donate food and provide support.
Since its inception, Brixton Soup Kitchen has served more than 80,000 meals to homeless and vulnerable people in London five days a week. It is also expanding to branches in Jamaica and Miami.
Seeing the transformation of the people they help is what fuels the team behind Brixton Soup Kitchen but ultimately Solomon Smith and Mahamed Hashi say they look forward to the day when they can wind the project down.
They said: “You don’t have to be part of the soup kitchen to give people food and clothes. If everyone looked after each other we wouldn’t need places like ours.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about sustainable lifestyle and green living for publications, and offers content services to planet-friendly businesses. Find out more at Rosamedea.com