After realising the Covid pandemic would mean many of their vulnerable customers, who were usually members of the pubs lunch clubs and dementia cafes, would be at risk of going hungry, The Bevy quickly recruited a dedicated team of volunteers and began cooking and delivering hot meals three times a week while working closely with local charities, churches, and social housing providers to identify those in need and contacting them directly to offer support.
The Bevy Meals on Wheels lead, Helen Jones, said: “We are very proud to have now delivered more than 15000 meals in total. The success of this project is down to the willingness and commitment of volunteers without whom we could not have managed or reached as many people.”
“We want to big up the volunteers and thank them for going the extra mile and taking their time to have a chat with people who were really isolated and lonely as well as delivering them a hot meal This process has highlighted the varying levels of food poverty in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean and our intention is to carry on delivering these meals for as long as they are needed.”
Tackling food poverty and waste
In addition to combating food poverty and loneliness in Brighton, The Bevy work closely with Fareshare Sussex, where they get the majority of their ingredients for the meals, as well as Brighton Food Factory and Brighton Food Partnership to identify sources of food which would otherwise go to Landfill.
Carer Jenny, who’s sister has dementia, said: “The meals have been a weight off my mind because although my sister was getting meals delivered before, they were frozen and she couldn’t work it out and we were throwing endless meals away.”
“She loves these hot meals and she is eating them. It’s been a life saver and a godsend for her and for us.”
Royally good community spirit
For many recipients, the meals on wheels deliveries were their sole opportunity to interact with the outside world during the difficult times of the pandemic, and the ability of the amazing volunteer team running errands and connect those who were vulnerable to vital services was crucial.
NACC chair, Sue Cawthay, said “The Bevy has a genuine community spirit, helping local people in challenging times.”
The Bevy’s work was recognised with a virtual Royal Visit from Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall as part of National Meals on Wheels Week 2020 and the pub is now working with partners including St John’s College to help young people with learning disabilities gain crucial work experience with a specialist educator/chef while making these delicious meals at the same time.