The Brixton Soup Kitchen was started in January 2013 and quickly gained traction, as it was a much-needed service in the local community. Solomon Smith & Mahamed Hashi, the founders, and fellow Director, Derrick Anderson, were all youth workers at the time.
The BSK is a welcoming community hub. It is a secure, warm place to visit where not only will a hot lunch be served, there is also a food bank, a clothes bank, a weekly reading group called Book at Breakfast the Thursday Legal Evening and several other regular training & advice gatherings. A sense of belonging is to be enjoyed at all times. Several of the service users have been helped to find employment or housing and others have gained the confidence to enrol in training & further education. The BSK also does remarkable outreach work on a regular basis, taking hot food and clothing to those living on the street and to families in need across London.
The BSK has created a close rapport with the Job Centre Pinnacle Project and Lambeth Probation Service, arranging for individuals to commit on a regular basis, which allows the Kitchen to rely on assistance as well as bolstering a sense of effectiveness in each service user. The extensive UK media coverage and swift word-of-mouth in the area means that many people call or write offering to volunteer their time ~ the BSK targets strengths to best enhance the work that needs to be done.
Two sizeable donations have been made by the Surprise, Surprise team and the Sparks – Marks & Spencer ‘Spark Something in 24-Hours’ scheme. The Surprise, Surprise group came in and outfitted the entire kitchen and Sparks kitted the dining and communal areas with carpeting and furniture. CitiBank became involved in a total clearing of the garden, planning on a days’ work that stretched to 3, bringing in industrial diggers and the garden is now safe boasting a large Bar B Q area.
Over the years, the Directors and the organization have received recognition for the work of the Kitchen by way of Awards and media coverage, including; Our Heroes Award (twice), Back 2 Black Inspirational Award BAFTA, Precious Award, Community Recognition Award Greater Heights, Independent On Sunday Happy 100 Award, Evening Standard Progress 1000 Award – Most Influential Londoners. The BSK have made appearances on UK’s Surprise, Surprise, ITV News, Victoria Derbyshire Show, SKY News, LBC, BBC News, Chicken Shop C4 and Solomon was a Bar B Q Champ. Solomon and Mahamed have given several TED talks and speak regularly in local schools and institutions.