Heart of Africa UK
1439. Tuoyo Ayiku
Tuoyo Ayiku, from South Lanarkshire, popularly known as “Mr T”, has cooked and delivered 5,000 meals consisting of African stews, curries, rainbow fried rice and jerk chicken to brighten the lives of vulnerable people isolating at home.
“Mr T” runs the Heart In The Community Cafe, a social enterprise which champions those who are vulnerable in the local community, including a pay-what-you-can box, to help them access healthy and hearty African cuisine. Since lockdown, with the cafe closed, “Mr T” has transformed his work into a delivery service to reach those in need. He is also the founder of ‘Heart of Africa UK’ charity, set up in 2015, which facilitates links between the local community in South Lanarkshire and with communities across Africa, funding small projects such as supplying school books for children and supporting women to become Fair Traders and generate their own income.
In a personal letter to Tuoyo, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Every day I write to thank someone in our country for their service to others, so today I want to thank you for the thousands of meals you provided to support those isolating at home during the battle against Coronavirus.
“Your tantalising assortment of African stews, curries, rainbow fried rice and jerk chicken has quite rightly made “Mr T” a legend of South Lanarkshire!
“On behalf of all those who have been fortified by your culinary delights, allow me to thank you by naming you as the UK’s 1439th Point of Light.”
“First of all Thanks be to God for giving us the opportunity to see today.
“This award is not just presented to me but a lot of people who have been working with me behind the scenes. They include my lovely Mother whose inspiration kick started the whole thing. Rest in peace Mother. Everyone at the Scottish Government Food Fund, our working Partners, CEMVO, LDVG, VASlan, VANL, Community Links, Routes to Work south, The Covid19 Rainbows Larkhall, South Lanarkshire Council. Special thanks to all members and volunteers of ‘Heart of Africa UK’ both past and present, this award is for us.”