Hosting the Challenge Child Poverty Event at Viking Community Centre, Northolt

Suchismita Majumdar, Research & Policy Officer, ESDEG

On 23rd of October ESDEG organised a two-part event as a wrap up to the week-long London Challenge Poverty Week ( campaign at the Viking Community Centre in Northolt. In the first half we hosted a Mid-Term Fun Day for the local children, which was followed by an hour’s round table discussion on the various issues affecting children living in poverty, how it impacts the grassroots communities in Ealing and the way forward.

We chose 23rd of October since it was the first day of the mid-term holidays in Ealing and we knew that the children would not have school. The Mid-Term Fun Day we split into two smaller events, the first one was Art Therapy. This was conducted by ESDEG’s Integrative Therapist Ms. Roda Ali. She has already conducted 5 Art Therapy workshops with the children from low-income households in Ealing over the summer holidays. Children loved attending the workshop and paint with colours and run around. In this post I won’t go into details of the workshop, you can check out our previous blog post on Art Therapy and it’s impacts on Mental Health.

The second part of the Mid-Term Fun Day was a Let’s Get Cooking Club. The aim was children would be taught to make sandwiches and decorate some Halloween cookies followed by lunch where they would be served the sandwiches they made along with salad, drinks, crisps, fruits etc. We enlarged the group and decided to make it an inter-generational activity by inviting elderly ladies who had just finished their yoga class at the Viking centre. Zenia Mehio conducted this workshop. She provided a range of sandwich fillings and taught the group how to make tasty wraps and sandwiches with them. Some of the wraps that they created were breakfast wrap with peanut butter, strawberries, bananas and granola, and then there were the savoury ones like cheesy apple coleslaw wrap, hummus, grated salad and salad wrap, omelette and smoked salmon wrap, tuna melt wrap, and avocado and egg wrap. Zeina also demonstrated how to make potato peeling crisps and popcorn, banana drop cookies and apple rings. Zeina and two of her volunteers helped the attendees along the way while Zeina explained the various flavour combinations and what tastes good with what like how peanut butter and jam go well together while mayonnaise and avocado taste good together. Then she encouraged them to experiment with different flavour combinations and see which one they liked the best.

Both the children and the elderly really enjoyed the session and we got the feedback that both the children and the ladies had fun decorating Halloween cookies.

The elderly ladies were really happy with an impromptu invitation to the cooking demo, they were all smiles by the end of it. Most of them took home the sandwiches they could not finish eating.

As for the children they also reported having a fun time trying out different flavours and decorating the Halloween cookies.

One parent told to us

“My child really enjoyed chatting with the grannies. He said that they were very kind and loving.”

A total of 18 people attended the Mid – Term Fun Day event and while leaving the event the children were given gift bags with little toys.

Councillor Louise Brett & Councillor Polly Knewstub chatting with the children at the cooking club. Photo credit Ealing Council.

This was followed by a round table discussion on Challenge Child Poverty around the themes of Food Security and Hunger, Health Iniquities, Youth Safeguarding, and Mental Health.

It was attended by

Cllr Dee Martin, Cllr Polly Knewstub, Cllr Ayesha Raza, Cllr Louise Brett, Lamise Hassan, Young Ealing Foundation, Emily Barker, 4in10, Mark Robbins, Freshwater Foundation, Mariam Abdallah, Regeneration Officer, Ealing Council, Anna Elliott, Children’s Services, Ealing Council,

Rosita Casperza, Trustee, ESDEG, Mohamed Ahmed, Director ESDEG, Ahmed Hadhoud, Learning Mentor & Fundraiser ESDEG, and Suchismita Majumdar, Research & Policy Officer, ESDEG

This was a very productive meeting; we discussed the various issues around poverty the structural inequalities and coping with the current crisis, the role played by Ealing Council in helping the residents and how to plan the way forward. Since the meeting we have been busy following up on the leads and taking the conversations forward. If you want to know in details about the meeting, please drop us an email at We can share more information.

We are thankful to 4in10 for providing us with the funds which enabled us to host the Child Poverty event.