Not for Profit
We unveil the group which served up fun and 25,500 free meals to families during summer holidays
If anyone told you children’s outdoor activities were on hold through the summer and those in need of a free-meal system would go without clearly neglected to mention this amazing effort.
A collective of charities, together with Gloucester City Council, served up not just 2,160 free hot meals and 2,100 packed lunches a week but activities to keep families occupied and in touch through a summer when the pandemic did its best to curtail almost everything else.
The magic ingredients was, of course, the humble volunteer – with 450 hours given by those who made the magic happen throughout the summer holidays.
This was a mammoth effort, which also looked like a whole lot of fun for everyone who attended, by Gloucester based community organisations, local councillors, the city council and Gloucestershire Gateway Trust.
Dawn Barnes, project manager from The Venture: White City, which was one of the driving forces behind the Holiday Kitchen, said: "The Holiday Kitchen was set up to encourage our local families to meet up in safe outdoor community spaces to socialise, share a free hot lunch, pick up some resources to help keep children creative and active.”
We neglected to add that 1,400 free items of ‘active’ play equipment given out – including skipping ropes and frisbees – and 150 books given away to encourage reading.
“Parents and carers have told us that it has been great to have a reason to get out of the house and enjoy the company of others whilst picking up free resources to help relieve boredom.
“We have also been able to offer a variety of additional activities alongside the holiday kitchen project including socially distanced drama sessions, free books, creative workshops and sports days,” said Ms Barnes.
The events took place at five venues every week.
The food was prepared, served and cooked thanks to the team from The Club at Tuffley Park and Generation Events.
Ross Nicholl who runs both organisations said: "We really wanted to support the Holiday Kitchen not only through The Club @ Tuffley Park CIC but also through our other company Generation Events Gloucestershire because we knew how hard COVID-19 has affected families.
“Our main aim is to reduce isolation and help tackle food poverty so this fitted right in with what we do.? Our team has been a huge part of making this happen and really got into the community spirit whilst doing it."?
Mark Gale, CEO of Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, which supported the project, said: "The Holiday Kitchen has been an incredible collaboration between our community partners and other local organisations.
"A big thank you to everyone involved, including the team at Generation Events who have really got behind this initiative and given their time to help."
Councillor Jennie Watkins of Gloucester City Council said: “We worked closely with GGT and our community partners to help develop the bid to DEFRA to secure funding to help local people continue to access healthy food as we recover from the lockdown.
“The Holiday Kitchen has been an incredibly successful initiative, and I’mvery grateful to everyone who has worked so hard over the past few weeks to bring food and fun to our communities.”
Those who made it happen were GL Communities, Play Gloucestershire, GL4 CIC, The Venture: White City, The Redwell Centre, The Club at Tuffley Park CIC, Podsmead Big Local, Active Gloucestershire, Strike a Light, Gloucester City Council, Gloucester City Homes, Matson, Robinswood & White City Community Partnership and Gloucestershire Gateway Trust.
The Trust Gloucestershire Gateway Trust is a community development charity, launched in 2007 to deliver the vision of creating a motorway services in Gloucestershire to support local regeneration.
Over the next 20 years, Gloucestershire Gateway Trust plans to plough an estimated £10 million into sustainable community projects through our local charity partners.?
Funds are generated thanks to our partnership with the Westmorland Family which runs the award-winning M5 Gloucester Services. We receive up to 3p in every £1 of non-fuel sales from Gloucester Services to invest in our local communities.