Chestnut – the operator of 11 pubs across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex – has initially vowed to cook and deliver 300 free meals to NHS staff at Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital CCU in tandem with nationwide scheme Food4Heroes.
With each meal costing £2.50 to produce, the operator aims to eventually provide 10,000 free meals across the region’s hospitals in the coming weeks through the pubco’s newly established charitable branch, Giving Tree.
“Chestnut will be providing our people, kitchens and transport infrastructure and are seeking contributions to help support and grow this not-for-profit initiative,” the operator's website explains.
“We are working with Food4Heroes to support the logistics of this initiative, while we hope to add more hospitals in the region.”
Donations made via The Giving Tree’s website will help Chestnut’s pub chefs purchase local produce and create meals for front-line staff, with house builder Hopkins Homes and law firm Birketts already providing initial funding to kick start the initiative.
Feeding key workers
Chestnut’s partnership with Food4Heroes comes after the group’s founder Philip Turner vowed to donate any takeaway revenue from its 11-strong pub estate to the NHS during the Covid-19 shutdown.
“We are absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with Food4Heroes,” Turner said.
“We have been inspired by many heart-warming initiatives across the UK and, as East Anglia is our heartland, it makes complete sense to support our local front-line teams as best we can.
“There has already been some great response by businesses and local people in the region. I would particularly like to thank both Hopkins Homes and Birketts for their very generous donations.
“To make sure we can continue to keep feeding our key workers we do need your support, so please keep donating.”
Exciting Norfolk launch
Founded after a heart-wrenching appeal by NHS worker Dawn Bilborough – who was unable to buy food in her local supermarket after completing a 48-hour shift – Food4Heroes is on course to deliver more than 60,000 meals to 12 hospitals in England by the end of April.
“Food4Heroes is delighted to be able to rely on such a trusted and quality operator as Chestnut, to roll out free meals for the NHS in East Anglia,” Chris Rees, East of England director of Food4heroes added.
“Our launch at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital ICU is very exciting and it is wonderful to be able to help and support our NHS heroes at a time when they are literally risking their lives to support the people of Britain during this crisis.”