Newbury Racecourse offer meals on wheels support for 6,750 local residents
At the start of April, Newbury Racecourse launched a partnership with Age Concern Newbury & District to feed so of the most vulnerable residents in West Berkshire during the COVID-19 crisis, along with Swift Couriers. Each week since, 750 hot meals have been distributed, seven days a week, to over 6,750 elderly and vulnerable residents in the borough.
Age Concern Newbury & District have delivered meals on wheels in the district for over 50 years, and have developed a safe solution, scrutinised by Healthwatch West Berkshire in consultation with West Berkshire Council Adult Social Care and Public Health. They agreed to upscale their operation to help more vulnerable, elderly people by working with Newbury Racecourse and Swift.
“Newbury Racecourse will enable us to scale up the operation with the use of their kitchens, chef and staff to meet the demand. It is amazing to see the response of so many businesses, charities and volunteers in our area,” said James Wilcox, Chief Executive of Age Concern Newbury & District, James Wilcox.
Racecourse resources on hand to help
Newbury Racecourse pledged their support to the initiative by providing a Meals on Wheels hub in a contained and dedicated area, using the available kitchens and chefs to support the escalating number of people who require the service. The racecourse also donated £1,000 worth of food from their existing supplies and waived fees associated with the use of the site.
Chefs from both the Fair Close Centre, run by Age Concern Newbury & District, and Newbury Racecourse joined forces to prepare hot nutritious meals up to seven days a week. Swift Couriers is making available technology and support to optimise delivery routes and have also pledged to provide vans to deliver snack packs to outlying areas.
Chief Executive of Newbury Racecourse, Julian Thick, said: “Working closely with the team at Age Concern Newbury & District, and Swift Couriers as well as the West Berkshire CCG, hopefully we can ease some of the pressure on the current services across the borough and provide much larger quantities of meals to the most vulnerable. Huge thanks must go to all my own team, many of whom have volunteered to help with the relief efforts.”
The Meals on Wheels service continued to be a paid-for service, with orders made over the phone. Those wishing to obtain the service who are over 65 can call 01635 40488 to order meals. The lunchtime service will be extended to 7-days a week as soon as possible with phased planning to meet the growing demand.
For those wishing to support the efforts, the Greenham Trust has also launched a public appeal on its charitable funding platform, The Good Exchange, and pledged to match up to £100,000 of this funding for donations received via the platform.
For every £1 raised, Greenham Trust will match £1 to support local charities that require additional help during these unprecedented times and will go to help those charities and volunteer organisations supporting those most urgently in need.
To donate money or apply for a grant, visit The Good Exchange https://app.thegoodexchange.com/project/17994/greenham-trust/greenham-trust-coronavirus-emergency-appeal.
As of tomorrow, Newbury is able to get back to its usual business of racing, albeit without the public.