Today (24.04.2020) the Portuguese community of Dagenham came together to provide over 65 individual homemade meals, along with cakes, doughnuts, and drinks to NHS staff at Queen’s and King George’s Hospitals. The donation was organised by Joseph who manages Santa Brava Ltd, a Portuguese café and deli at Dagenham East.

Joseph commented in a short video: “we wanted to give the NHS some support, to say thank you for everything from all of our community. I’m very proud of my customers for all they have contributed.”

Santa Brava Ltd is a small family run business on Rainham Road South that was visited by the Mayor of London last year on Small Business Saturday which was organised by Jon Cruddas MP. Like many local businesses the café and deli has had to close its doors during lockdown but they still open on a Saturday so that customers can buy groceries.

Jon commented: “this is an excellent example of people coming together to support our key workers at a time of national crisis – hats off to Joseph and his family for organising today. Since this crisis began, many of the small businesses across Dagenham and Rainham have stepped up to do their bit and it is very encouraging to see.”

The customers of Santa Brava Ltd have spent all week baking and cooking to get everything prepared, and the staff at Queen’s Hospital were incredibly pleased to accept the donation with much of it being allocated to the Intensive Care Unit.

Local Village Ward Councillor Margaret Mullane attended and said: “it was so encouraging to see this take place. Santa Brava staff were handing trays of doughnuts and food to ambulance drivers as they pulled into the hospital and there was a real feeling of togetherness. It was also very well coordinated by staff at the hospital to make sure social distancing was adhered to.”