Coronation & Community


Ahead of the Wanstead Community Coronation Festival, James Paterson explains how residents can continue to support Tin in a Bin, and in the spirit of The Big Help Out, we hear from two of the organisation’s much-needed volunteers 

During the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, Tin in a Bin put out a call to streets that were holding parties to collect donations of non-perishable food staples. The response was great. We received a huge boost from that appeal. 

King Charles III’s coronation will see a repeat of street celebrations in our community, and we are again appealing to anyone holding a party to have a ‘tin’ collection to generate much-needed donations. The sad fact is the economic environment is causing more need for food banks, but also reducing donors’ ability to give. We’re hoping the appeal this year will help replenish our depleted supplies. 

The King’s call for people to join The Big Help Out resonates strongly with our organisation; we have a huge network of over 50 collection points and there are many others involved in the transportation and managing of all the donations. Tin in a Bin, or TinaB as we lovingly call it, has become a community asset, bringing people together and achieving more than just food bank support.

Mary Stephenson, one of our volunteers at St Mary’s Church in Wanstead (TinaB HQ), said: “During my working life as a police officer, I often reached out to voluntary organisations. I was extremely thankful and highly appreciative of their invaluable contribution and often thought where on earth would we be without such groups, such people. When I reached the end of my career, I wanted to help that crucial work continue. After over seven years as a witness support volunteer at a local magistrates court, I now volunteer weekly at a cat rescue. Just over a year ago, I went to help at a Ukraine appeal in Wanstead; it was there I was introduced to Tin in a Bin, an incredible concept involving the whole community. Over a year later, I am still involved on a weekly basis and have formed friendships as a result. It’s so much more than the food bank support too. We’re always thinking of new ways to support and new ways to raise funds.”

Martin Chew, who volunteers with his wife Annie at St Mary’s, added: “Over two years ago, whilst out walking, we saw St Mary’s Wanstead was open. We went in to look around and were surprised to find pews in the side aisle full of tins of food of all kinds! We had stumbled across the flourishing food bank operation Tin in a Bin. Asking if we could help, we received a warm invitation to come along on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. As well as periods of intense activity sorting, storing and picking items, these sessions provide opportunities for conversation with other volunteers and visitors. I am sure we all would prefer to return to a time when food banks were not necessary, but we can for now at least do a small amount to help out in these troubled times.”

During the Wanstead Community Coronation Festival, TinaB will be running two tombola stalls. If you’d like to join us as a volunteer or have a collection point at your home, please visit the stalls or get in touch. The festival has been made possible by our generous local sponsors North London Loft Rooms, Petty Son & Prestwich, The Duke, K&D Joinery, Summit, Treehouse Nursery and JingleBop. With family entertainment, fairground rides and live music, the event will be a wonderful opportunity for the community to celebrate as one.

The Wanstead Community Coronation Festival will take place on 7 May from 11am to 6pm on Christ Church Green. For more information on TinaB, email tinab.wanstead@gmail.com

Author: Editor