News release from 18/06/2020

Hot meals for vulnerable residents

Hot meals for vulnerable residents

A hot meal scheme to provide nutritious food to vulnerable residents has been established by volunteers and the District Council – and made possible by a grant from Countryside.

The initiative being run from Over Day Centre got up and running last week and saw around 40 two course meals, including fresh vegetables, delivered to vulnerable residents on its first day of its operation. A similar number were being delivered yesterday (Wednesday 17 June). Community volunteers are at the heart of the operation with local chefs donating their time too.

The meals are being provided to vulnerable people including those who would normally attend the Day Centres in Over and Cottenham, and their partners. Currently they cannot attend due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Observing social distancing guidelines, volunteers from the local community deliver the nutritious meals for residents to heat up in their own homes.

Developers Countryside contributed a £10,000 grant to get the scheme off the ground after a successful bid for the funding from South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Cllr Bill Handley standing outside Over Day Centre

Cllr Bill Handley (pictured - above), Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing at South Cambridgeshire District Council and one of the local Members for Over and Willingham Ward, said: “In normal times the Over Day Centre provides great food for its clients, Monday to Friday. The staff at the Day Centre are very dedicated, hard-working people and I am not at all surprised to see them volunteering to help us provide this food service for people in the district who need it. Both the staff and the trustees of the Day Centre have really risen to the challenge and we are very grateful. I’d also like to thank Countryside for their generous donation which has made this scheme possible.”

Steve Couper, Chairman of Trustees at Over Day Centre, said "Our staff volunteers and trustees were really excited when they got such glowing feedback from recipients of the first meal. Now we have produced the second meal, this week, we will be discussing with South Cambridgeshire officers the possibility of producing more meals each week. We should all be very proud of everyone who is giving their time in the production and distribution of these meals."

The logo for Countryside. It includes the words 'places people love'

Andrew Carrington, Managing Director, Strategic Land, Countryside said: “We are proud to have donated £10,000 from Countryside’s Communities Fund to support this vital charity initiative by South Cambridgeshire District Council. Communities are at the heart of our work as a developer. As such, Countryside is committed to supporting local people in the areas we operate, including here in Cambridgeshire.

“We recognise that many households are struggling. Working together with the Council, we hope this vital delivery of hot, nutritious meals prepared by a chef, will ease the difficulties vulnerable families are facing during this crisis.”

From Thursday, a second food scheme is being set up from a hub in Duxford and will see meals being prepared by the C3 Church in Cambridge. This will see the District Council and volunteers working to provide hot food to vulnerable residents who have been identified as the most likely to benefit from a meal. This initiative will be slightly different to the arrangements in Over, as it will serve a wider area and be a pick-up point for those identified residents.