Minister praises ‘caring’ Peterborough and charity supporting rough sleepers

A government minister has praised “caring” Peterborough and singled out a charity which supports the city’s rough sleepers.
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Luke Hall, minister for regional growth and local government, made the comments on Thursday following a speech by MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow, who described efforts made in the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Hall said: “We have heard that Peterborough is the caring city. I have heard that said many times before, but today we really saw that through the examples.”

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He also highlighted the Garden House in the Cathedral Precincts which he noted has “contributed so much” in supporting rough sleepers during the pandemic.

MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow with Ishfaq Hussain and Zillur Hussain and staff from the Tavan Restaurant EMN-200323-155022009MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow with Ishfaq Hussain and Zillur Hussain and staff from the Tavan Restaurant EMN-200323-155022009
MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow with Ishfaq Hussain and Zillur Hussain and staff from the Tavan Restaurant EMN-200323-155022009

Thursday’s debate in the House of Commons was about the community response to the Covid crisis.

During it, Mr Bristow said, according to the official record from Hansard: “I often talk about Peterborough being a special place, a caring city, and I talk regularly about being proud of Peterborough. It has become almost a personal catchphrase, but nothing makes me prouder of Peterborough than the way in which the community has responded during the Covid-19 crisis.

“I would like to publicly thank a lot of the people who have worked with me, and worked tirelessly to support people during this effort.

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“Cocoa Fowler from the charity Food for Nought has supported teams across the city, delivering food to food banks.

The Garden HouseThe Garden House
The Garden House

“Hotelier Colin Wilson has been hailed as a hero by his wife for supporting his community during the Covid-19 lockdown by cooking over 200 free meals a week - his local MP agrees with Mrs Wilson.

“Zoe Wareham, a nurse at Peterborough City Hospital, had to leave her children with their grandparents because they were particularly at risk of infection, but the hours she put in to support people were an inspiration.

“My friend Zillur Hussain, the chief executive officer of the Zi Foundation, has been honoured for his services to the community in Peterborough during Covid-19. Along with his business partner Chavdar Zhelev, they provided thousands of free meals to the vulnerable and the deserving.

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“He was honoured with an MBE and, again, he receives my public thanks.

“Ishfaq Hussain led efforts to provide meals to rough sleepers and, along with the charities Children of Adam, Unite 4 Humanity and the Garden House, ensured that rough sleepers were fed and housed during the outbreak. I also thank Atiq Rehman, Shezad Yousaf and Steven Pettican who are good people in part motivated by their faith.

“Takeaways and restaurants in Peterborough have been absolutely brilliant at offering free meals to the deserving, and my Peterborough’s Favourite Takeaway contest was a way to thank them for their efforts.

“Rony Choudhury of the Bombay Brasserie, Zeeshan Manzoor and the teams at Big Mouth and Five Lads, Touqeer Tariq of Rizq Peri Peri Grill, Becky and Emma at Flavour takeaway in Chadburn, the gang at Netherton Fisheries and countless others all deserve mentions, as do Jacki Wood, the landlady of The Bull pub in Newborough, for her efforts supporting the village, and Wendy Sayer of the Newborough coronavirus support group.

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“Peterborough is home to a number of community food banks. All organisers and volunteers merit thanks. I volunteered at the Millfield community fridge and was looked after by Carol Knight, and supported the efforts of Christine Nice at the Westwood community café and Erin Tierney at the Thorney and Eye food bank.

“Last but not least, Stevie Wiley and Richard Bastow of the Coronaheroes Facebook group led me to dress up as Father Christmas, handing out presents to children. They have been a real inspiration in Peterborough.

“It is a special place, Peterborough, with the Sikh community, the Hindu community, the Nepalese community, five big mosques, churches across the city, the East Timorese community and Petr Torak from COMPAS, which provides support to the Czech, Slovak and Roma communities.

“They have all been absolutely marvellous during this campaign, as have the Peterborough Litter Wombles, the new organisation that supports litter picking and so on. Family Voice is another superb charity.

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“It is not difficult to say that Peterborough is a very diverse constituency with people from all sorts of communities. We come from different faiths, cultures and communities; we are different shapes and sizes and even speak different languages.

“But we came together as one city, and that is why I am proud of Peterborough, why it is such a special place and why all these people deserve a specific mention.”