The founder of a food charity for struggling families has been nominated by Croydon Council as a London hero for going the extra mile to support others during the pandemic.

Tracey Davis, of voluntary organisation Guiding Hands, was nominated by leader of the council Hamida Ali for BBC Radio London’s Make A Difference campaign

Throughout the Covid crisis, Guiding Hands has supplied a weekly food box to Croydon families with around £50 worth of groceries provided by food stores including Greggs, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

The Chronicle reported in 2019 on Tracey’s Foodie Friday project, a food a friendship group being run out of St Andrew’s Church on Quadrant Road, providing young mums and pregnant women with skills on healthy ways to cook inexpensive fresh food.

Now Guiding Hands, which has premises on Whitehorse Road works with around 20 volunteers and recently featured on Comic Relief. 

The charity which had been running a mini-market for local families on low incomes or Universal Credits switched during to Covid to home deliveries and online cookery lessons with the number of families it helped rose from 16 to 80 a week.

Tracey said: “When the pandemic hit, we could not do it socially anymore, so we changed to just having deliveries. What we found was a lot of our mums who we had not heard from for a year or two were coming back. 

“They had lost their jobs and they would say ‘is Guiding Hands still doing Foodie Friday?’ It was very busy, and very harrowing. Hopefully we can all go back to being social in the coming months with our programme.

“We have expanded who we deliver to; we do families, vulnerable adults and referrals through social services and other agencies. The system we have in place works for them, and they stay on our books until they tell us they don’t need it.”

On her nomination, Tracey said: “To have been singled out for the work we do, it goes to show we are reaching the people we need to be in contact with. The honour is on the service we provide, that everyone has been happy and we have been able to help the community.”