Bestwood park

"We started with 51 meals and on Good Friday we delivered 112 meals!" One church's response to Covid-19

We asked our friends at Bestwood Park Church in Nottingham, to write about how they have been supporting their community through meal deliveries during covid-19.

Bestop Kitchen was launched in June 2017, based at Bestwood Park Church the weekly social eating event is a partnership between the church and the community. Bestop Kitchen is member of Fareshare, which is charity fighting hunger and food waste - they save good food from going to waste and redistribute it to frontline charities. Through them we receive regular food deliveries which we use for our meals or we distribute the surplus round the community. Many who attend Bestop Kitchen are elderly or have health issues, so on Sunday 16th March we made the tough decision to put Bestop Kitchen on hold due to Covid -19 and this was just before the “lockdown” was announced.

We began to think through and have conversations with other organisations about what we might be able to do to support the most vulnerable in our community. A couple of community partners suggested that we could prepare and cook lunches and have them delivered by local community organisations who we already work with.

We started to get advice on how we might do this, taking into account social distancing and safeguarding best practice. On Friday 27th March we started delivering a three course cooked lunch to mostly vulnerable older people. We are working with Nottingham City Council and Nottingham City Homes, many of our referrals are coming from them and our other community partners.

Bestwood covid19

We have a very small team preparing and cooking the meals. We have 16 delivery drivers from our community partners; three or four Nottinghamshire Police Officers, Bestwood Partnership, Bestwood Advice, Bestop Kitchen, Toy Library, Emmanuel Church and Peoples Church. The lunches are delivered twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. We started with 51 meals and on Good Friday we delivered 112 meals. Once a week we have also been able to deliver a bag of “surplus” food to each household receiving a meal. Last week we received a massive delivery of fruit and fresh meat from Fareshare which enabled us to make up and distribute 55 fruit boxes and 35 bags of fresh meat to local families.

We started Bestop Kitchen as a wider community response to people feeling isolated and alone in June 2017. The main reason we have started delivering meals is to show these vulnerable adults and families many who have been encouraged to self isolate for an initial 12 weeks that they are not forgotten, they are valued and “loved”.