The Greenhouse Practice in Hackney opened its doors to those experiencing homelessness for its much-anticipated Christmas Fair on December 1, 2023, offering warmth, care, and festive cheer.
The event, organised by the East London NHS Foundation Trust’s Greenhouse Practice, was held at 19 Tudor Road, transforming it into a hub of health and happiness.
The fair provided a range of essential services and festive treats, including hot meals, long-life food supplies, toiletries, winter clothing, Covid jabs, free haircuts, physiotherapy, library services, smoking cessation support, and more.
It was a day filled with music, food, and community spirit, offering a much-needed respite and support to those experiencing homelessness in City and Hackney.
Dr. Mohit Venkataram, ELFT Executive Lead for Primary Care, expressed his delight at the turnout and success of the event, "It's heartening to see the community come together and make a difference to so many people. Christmas is special because of the warmth and compassion we show to each other and treat everyone like equals especially those who are having difficult social circumstances. Events like these not only provide essential health and care services but also bring joy and hope to those who need it most."
Trevor, a service user who recently found accommodation through the Greenhouse, shared his gratitude, "I love being here. The Greenhouse is the best; they respect and support us. I'm proud of everyone here today. I could be out in the cold, but I'm here, warm and happy."
Nicola, another service user, echoed these sentiments, "The community has come together, and we are all so happy. We've had music, food, conversations, doctors, and even vets. It's been amazing. Greenhouse is amazing. They deserve everything for what they do for us."
Rufus, whose mother works at the Greenhouse, added, "It's really nice to see what my mum does and how the community is bound together to help people and celebrate Christmas."
Maximo, a service user who has benefited from the GP and housing services, praised the support he received, "This is the perfect place to get back on your feet. If you have a mental health or housing problem, the Greenhouse is the best place to be."
The event was supported by the Greenhouse practice's multi-agency partnership group, a collaboration of health, care, and housing providers across City and Hackney, and a generous donation from the ELFT Charity. The ELFT corporate secretariat team also collected generous donations and supported the fair.
The Greenhouse Practice in Hackney continues to provide comprehensive care to people living in hostels or supported accommodation, rough sleepers, hidden homeless, and those spending significant time on the streets.
The Christmas Fair 2023 stands as a testament to their unwavering dedication to the community.