Back in 2015, as a small group of friends and family from Coventry we were inspired by the great work being carried out internationally by Khalsa Aid and wanted to do a little something in the local area to help those in need. On a regular basis we would cook and prepare food at home for distribution to the homeless community from the back of a van. It was not long before this became a weekly routine.
Within a few months, it was realised that there was a huge need in the community for the service provided by the team. To get the advice, support and guidance required to help us grow, Khalsa Aid took on the project in the form of Langar Aid. Since then, day by week by month the project and services offered has grown at a phenomenal rate. At the same time, we have been blessed with support from the local council, agencies and businesses who have been so generous with their backing and donations.
Langar Aid went on to acquire a double storey unit within City Arcade which we outgrew within months and a year later we moved operations to Langar Aid House which has become a full time base, offering service users a safe, warm and relaxed atmosphere where they can recuperate and get access to cooked meals, essentials and during the winter when the temperature drops we open up as an overnight shelter.
In addition to food, we invite specialist agencies to liaise with our service users. For example, service users are made aware of training and education services, where required drug and alcohol support is provided. With the help of Coventry Comfort Carers we have a large allotment on-site where service users are encouraged to go out and get involved. This has been hugely beneficial for the mental well-being of many service users, additionally, the food which is grown can be used in our kitchen while preparing meals.
Member of the local community are encouraged to come in and volunteer, we work with a number of local schools where we have run presentations and have also hosted school visits where pupils have been given the opportunity to help cook and serve meals. A number of schools have come forward to assist us with packing winter essentials for the homeless as part of our ‘bag of warmth’ campaign.
While our focus is the management of operations running from Langar Aid house we are also actively engaged in supporting our teams in towns and cities across the UK. It has been heart-warming to see our operations expand nationally to other towns and cities where local volunteers have been empowered to take ownership of organising and running weekly feeds for the homeless, isolated and vulnerable.