A COMMUNITY kitchen that has served the community of Bradford since 2018, highlighted that it has seen an ‘alarming’ increase in the number of people seeking its services.

JKN Outreach started under the supervision of Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islam, founder, and principal of JKN Institute, Bradford and provides essentials to the homeless and most destitute members of the community.

The community kitchen is held every Sunday, without fail, in Bradford City Centre, where hot meals are provided to anyone who needs help.

A spokesperson for JKN Outreach said: “All our services are 100 per cent volunteer-led and community funded.

“Family, friends, and community well-wishers sponsor our community meal each week.

“We lead partnerships with a number of local community organisations and businesses and work alongside national partners to deliver hot meals, and emergency food and provide holiday hunger provisions with dignity and respect for our beneficiaries.

“The people we serve, we see them as our guests and not as 'service users', because if we were in that situation, we wouldn’t want to be treated like that.”

JKN Outreach prepares to cater for as many people as possible due to the rise in demand.

“We will try to cater for as many people as we possibly can so we can be there for them in their hour of need.

“Pre-covid, we were serving around 60-80 people at our community kitchen which then increased to around 120-150 people during the lockdown.

“Over the last 6-8 weeks this has sharply risen to around 200 visitors each week.

“We also provide support to five other local shelters which have been really challenging to maintain due to the current level of demand for our services.”

The underlying principles that drive the groups’ work are derived from Islamic teachings such as having compassion and care for other people.

They take lessons from the life of Prophet Muhammad who is their guide and role model.

“We use the teachings of the Prophet to guide us and the work we do, and this saying of the Prophet reflects our work: ‘A true believer is not he who fills himself while his neighbour remains hungry.’

“We aim to be an embodiment of beautiful teachings such as this.”

The group provides Halal meals in their community kitchen to meet the needs of their community as well as hosting a food and clothes bank.

“We want to deliver a service which is like a 'one-stop shop' where all a person's basic food, clothing and hygiene essentials are accessible.”