Organisers of the Looe Community Meals initiative have recently appointed Sara Barron to coordinate the project following a successful grant application of £14,000 to the DEFRA food resilience fund.
Cllr Edwina Hannaford who initially led the project and obtained the grant said, “We are delighted to welcome Sara to the team. With Sara onboard we can now expand the service and build on the success of the ‘meals on wheels’ delivery service provided by local restaurant The Golden Guinea. Current providers include, The Old Sail Loft Restaurant, The Golden Guinea, The Sticky Spoon (Rivercroft Hotel), Coddy Shack, Coop fair share and The Lookout on the Quay, who are also providing ‘Pay it forward’ tokens for a takeaway coffee. Other local businesses and suppliers have been very generous and collaborated including the Cornish Tea Company, Sara’s Pasties and Quayside Fresh has provided fresh fruit and vegetables at discounted rates.
Sara’s role is to bring more providers on board whether it’s a takeaway, restaurant or café, coordinate the volunteer delivery drivers and identify people in need. We also currently need more volunteer drivers, especially for Sunday’s for approximately 30 minutes commitment. To date, 21 individuals and families are currently supported with food twice a week.
Sara said, “The recipients have either limited cooking facilities to produce a hot, nutritious healthy meal, have limited income due to redundancy because of Covid-19, at the end of seasonal employment or find cooking difficult because of disability or infirmary.” “We guarantee confidentiality and treat people with the dignity they deserve, we are here to help.”
The scheme currently provides tray bakes such as cottage pie, lasagne, vegetarian options or a roast twice a week and even a fish supper takeaway.
A flavour of what the recipients think;
“We are so excited to be having a takeaway which we would never normally have and to choose what we want! Wow thank you so much.”
“It is so kind what you are doing (providing meals). I know that those two days I do not have to worry how I am going to cook something.”
Potential recipients can self-refer, a relative or friend can request assistance or other agencies can also make referrals such as local councillors, Rusty Bucket, schools or the surgery. To make a referral or for more information contact Sara on 07766020524 or email@example.com
Although meals are free, recipients are able to make a voluntary donation to enable the project to become sustainable in the future so more families and individuals in need of freshly prepared, wholesome food can be supported. Looe Development Trust administer the financial accountability of the project and it has the support of Looe Town Council.
Edwina continued, “Some areas of Looe are in the worst 20% in the UK for child poverty, and Looe and Polperro are heavily dependent on the tourism sector which has been the sector most effected by the pandemic with some businesses facing total lockdown twice, laying off staff or putting them on short time. There is also a high proportion of self-employed people in Looe who have been adversely effected by the loss of trade from the tourism sector supply chain. Some people in Looe and Polperro, even in a good year, face hardship with a seasonal economy and low paid service industry jobs so this service will make a real difference.”
‘Looe Community Meals’ compliments other schemes like the Looe Town Council Hardship Fund, the Liskeard & Looe Foodbank and the Lighthouse Community Centre regularly deliver to Looe and surrounding villages on Fridays and have willingly taken onboard families and individuals identified through Looe Town Council and Rusty Bucket Hardship Funds. The Looe hardship fund can provide essential white goods like a fridge or microwave, will contribute to essential utility bills like phone, electricity and rent and items for school like uniforms and occasionally food if an individual or family are not able to access the food bank. If you need to talk through your needs, you can call Rusty Bucket on 07896515334. Alternatively you can also text this number and someone will call you back within 24 hours, or please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edwina concluded, “The Looe Community Meals Project” will really make a difference. I would like to thank Sara, the steering group, local providers and volunteer deliverers. The whole team have pulled together to help; what an amazing community we have in Looe and Polperro, it just shows what we can do it we all work together.”