Community support

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


We define crisis as not having the resources to provide basic human needs such as food for oneself or family - and with no immediate means of funding those needs.

First Love Foundation provides support and advice to those who are struggling due to in-work poverty, ill-health and unemployment, a spiral which plunges them into food or fuel crisis. This is delivered through our Enabling Lives Programme (delivered in partnership with the local authority and the Child Poverty Action Group) in response to the need for access to emergency donations of food and high quality welfare & housing benefit advice at the point of need to those in crisis within the borough of Tower Hamlets.

We are based in Tower Hamlets, home to Canary Wharf which, with a turnover of £6bn pa, is the richest financial hub in Europe but also faces many challenges, with the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (2015) citing it as the most deprived borough in London and in the top 10% nationally.

The local authority reports that 23% of the borough's households have a combined income of up to £15,000 pa, the highest level of income deprivation in London and sixth in England. Sadly, End Child Poverty (2014) reports that 49% of the borough’s children live in poverty, the highest in the UK.

We help the most vulnerable in the community through partnering with over 300 locally based front-line organisations, who are best placed to identify those most in need of the help we provide. Each client seen at our crisis centres is seen by our Project Worker, automatically enrolled onto our Enabling Lives Program and assessed to enable us to first identify and then target those underlying issues which in many cases have been creating a cycle of crisis.

Our main objective is to equip each person we see to become more resilient to any future unexpected challenges they may face due to their economic circumstances, thus preparing them to be able to live sustainably. The additional benefits to our approach and unique model are that through improving their well-being and increasing confidence in themselves, our clients never find themselves in food crisis again. Ultimately, we aim to help people get their lives back on track by eliminating the causes of crisis and freeing them from a cycle of dependency on charitable food support.

First Love Foundation is determined to ensure that our unique model used in dealing with those most vulnerable individuals within our community brings about real, lasting change; and the figures speak for themselves:

• In 2015, 67% of people referred to our programme had their issues resolved on their first visit
• In the 6 months leading to May 2016, we supported over 1,000 adults and children.
• In the first 3 months of 2016, we helped 39 people reclaim £86,134 of benefits they were entitled to, but had been previously denied access to.

Your vote can help us secure a grant of £25,000 to launch and deliver the pilot year of our employability project, which aims to prepare people who are a distance from the jobs market for an entry into employment – and gain the skills to sustain it.

The project combines employability with training and well-being improvement through the offer of counselling, mentoring support and workshops to help reduce isolation, build confidence and resilience and restore hope and aspiration. The participant will also benefit from ongoing support from a Mentor and Project Worker for up to 12 months after securing employment.

Participants will be recruited through our Enabling Lives Programme with an initial focus on single men and women aged over 25 years as we have found this group to be isolated, low in confidence, have no support network and far from employment.

We want to be able to provide support for those within the community of Tower Hamlets experiencing crisis. Your vote will help a person begin to make the journey from crisis to transformation, able to lead fulfilled and sustainable lives.

Project Video

First Love Foundation

Moment of Pride

First Love Foundation is about the whole person, not just hunger.

Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of people facing crisis in one of the UK’s most deprived boroughs get their lives back on track.

We are more than a foodbank – that’s just one of the things we do.

Location: London Borough of Tower Hamlets, United Kingdom