A local charity which provides free hot meals and drinks to the most vulnerable in Bradford is set to cater for thousands more as it expands across the country.
The Intouch foundation is barely one year old yet has already become a vital lifeline for the city’s homeless and economically deprived, dishing out more than 10,000 meals over the past 12 months alone.
With mobile soup kitchens held in Bradford, Shipley and Keighley every week, the charity is run completely by volunteers and the model has been so successful, a new ‘branch’ will launch in London by the end of the month.
In affiliation with a London organisation, the mobile soup kitchen will launch in the capital where thousands are registered as homeless, with tens of thousands living in ‘temporary accommodation’.
Founder and board member of the Intouch Foundation, Osman Gondal, explained why he believes the southern base will be a big success and his desire to cater for more of the country’s homeless population.
“Basically the model which will launch in London by the end of the month is like a franchise with the benefit of not having to pay for it,” he said.
“Working with Viva Islam, still under the title of Intouch, we hope to serve the people of London and continue the great work which has helped us grow so fast over the last year. We are of course offering training and advice in build up to the launch later this month and hope it is just the first of many set to launch this year.”
Further franchise models are also set to open in Manchester and Liverpool in the near future whilst at least three others are also hoped to be launched within the year.
Mr Gondal added that the rapid growth has come as somewhat of a surprise for all involved in the charity yet added that no decisions are ever rushed to ensure every initiative has the best chance of success.
“It is fantastic to see how fast people and fellow organisations have bought into the idea which has helped hundreds of people already,” he explained.
“As well as plans for further soup kitchens we are also close to launching a pilot scheme for a food bank in Bradford which would act as a vital hub where produce can be collected.
“We already have a number of mosques on board who would help with the collection once a week, and hope to have the whole project up and running within six to eight weeks.”
From one couple’s kitchen to the whole of England, the Intouch Foundation has become a an important lifeline for the country’s least fortunate and with thousands still struggling in the current economic climate, the service is more important now than ever.