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Thank You Thursday: Metro gives a shout out to some of those amazing people helping their neighbours in need

MIDLANDS

Beacon

Beacon Centre For The Blind has been supporting people with sight loss for 145 years. Volunteers have been delivering the talking newspaper service to over 110 people every week, walking dogs, helping people access food, making and delivering hundreds of meals, as well as offering vital welfare calls to people they’d usually support face-to-face. beaconvision.org

The Real Junk Food Project

The Birmingham food waste collective is busier than ever, picking up unwanted food from businesses and distributing it to people in need, and those who can’t leave their homes. trjfpbrum.com

NORTH

Road To Recovery Trust

Newcastle-based Road To Recovery has been delivering 450 free healthy meals cooked at their recovery café, George Street Social, every Friday since lockdown. justgiving.com/campaign/foodonfriday

Hickory’s

Smokin’: Hickory’s has raised £50,000

Cheshire-based family restaurant group Hickory’s Smokehouse, which has sites across the North West, Midlands and north Wales, raised more than £50,000 in just one week to help families in need. It’s been cooking and delivering hundreds of free hot meals to families who need some extra support. justgiving.com/fundraising/hickoryscashforkids

SOUTH EAST

Chequers Kitchen Cookery School

When the lockdown started, community cookery school co-directors Stephanie Hayman and Pieter van Zyl started feeding their neighbours with stocks from their kitchens. This has grown to delivering 80-110 meals a day to elderly and shielded people in and around Deal and Sandwich. chequersdeal.co.uk

United Neighbours

Emma-Jayne Wright and her team of volunteer cooks and delivery drivers, are providing 50-60 meals each day, to vulnerable people across St John’s Wood and Camden. People are now being referred by GPs and from Age UK, and Lord’s cricket ground is helping to store their food. gofundme.com/f/united-neighbours

SOUTH WEST

Mama’s Community Aid

Born out of the established Mama’s Swaps and Freebies network, which sees Bristol parents passing on their baby equipment and clothes to other families, this band of big-hearted mums have started cooking for key workers and helping those who are isolating and struggling to get fresh food. facebook.com/groups/435002390781604

SCOTLAND

Edinburgh Food for Good Coalition

Two of a kind: Edinburgh Food For Good Coalition and, main picture, The Tidy Kitchen Company

What started as a WhatsApp conversation has seen a merry band of chefs, food campaigners and city projects raise more than £13,000 to make meals for vulnerable people. Chefs, delivery workers and food businesses have given their time, ingredients, equipment and cleaning supplies. facebook.com/EdinburghFoodSocial

The Kind Kitchen

Set up by Vanessa Gilpin, The Kind Kitchen raises money to pay for the service of street food vendors. For every £500 raised, they commission a food truck or caterer to prepare and deliver 100 meals to local charities They’re on track to provide 20,000 meals to people in need and help struggling independent caterers. gofundme.com/f/TheKindKitchen

WALES

The Tidy Kitchen Company

Supported by fellow Cardiff company, COPA-DATA, founder Laura Graham and her staff are making nutritious and healthy lunches and evening meals, which they then drop off to 150 people who are vulnerable or self-isolating and 350 frontline NHS staff, including those working in critical care units. thetidykitchencompany.com

COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS

Great news: Each Wirral Council food parcel comes with a copy of Metro

WHEN they pack up the food packages for Wirral’s most vulnerable people, Wirral Council’s team try to add a little cheer.

‘For many, it is the only contact with the outside world they might have all week, so we want to raise a smile if we can,’ explains Tom Smith, the council’s food hub manager. ‘That might be an extra chocolate bar or a nice big pack of crisps, and we include that day’s Metro, to help people get the news they might be missing.’

As part of a unique collaboration, a copy of Metro goes out with each parcel, giving readers a welcome bit of contact with the outside world. ‘We’ve had great feedback that it helps life feel a bit more normal,’ says Tom. ‘We also put a note in each box, explaining that it was packed with care by people from their local community, and numbers where they can reach out for help if they need it. More than a box of tins and packets, it’s a security blanket.’

‘My normal role is as an event producer, organising things like the Wirral Food, Drink & Music Festival, so this is a bit of a change. But there are some similar skills required in terms of organising and planning,’ says Tom. ‘We’ve had to set up a warehouse from scratch, and there are very strict rules about hand washing and sanitising.

‘A lot of our box packers work in the library service and leisure centres. It has reminded me that they essentially came to work for the council because they like helping people, and that shines through.’

wirral.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/coronavirus-updates/emergency-food