NHS staff thank restaurant workers for free lockdown meals

September 01 2020
NHS staff thank restaurant workers for free lockdown meals

NHS staff at Blackberry Hill Hospital and Frenchay Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre were among those who were given free hot meals in lockdown.

The Food 4 NHS Project involved teams from takeaways and restaurants including Curry Supreme in Staple Hill and the Rajastan Royal in Downend, working with campaign group UK Curry Connect.

The six-week initiative was led by Naseem Talukdar, a project manager for charity Plastic Pollution Awareness and Action Projects and founder of Feed the Homeless, who also helps out at the Rajastan Royal.

Naseem said: "We launched the project as soon as we went into lockdown. Front-line workers have been bravely putting their lives at risk to help others and we wanted to do our bit to support them.”

Naseem coordinated with UK Curry Connect, which has been set up to raise awareness of skills shortages in the Asian catering industry, and food caterers across the region who had built relationships through their ‘curry and conversations’ meet-ups to find alternatives to single-use plastic in the food industry.

Volunteers delivered 2,500 hot meals to staff at hospitals including Blackberry Hill, Frenchay Brain injury Rehabilitation Centre, the Bristol Royal Infirmary and the Emersons Green NHS Centre.

They also dropped food off to key workers and police officers, who had limited access to food during their long shifts.

Blackberry Hill Hospital service manager Stefan Jakubowski said the warm meals helped to boost morale.

He said: “The staff had been working in difficult conditions, with full PPE, and the food deliveries helped brighten up their day.

To receive warm, good quality food, especially while the on-site canteen had to be closed, was really appreciated. It showed a recognition for the team’s work and boosted morale.”

Ibrahim Romel, of Rajastan Royal, who is also taking part in a PPAAP scheme to reduce plastic, said: “The key workers have done so much for our community during the coronavirus crisis and we wanted to show our appreciation.”

High Sheriff of Bristol Dr John Manley, who supported the project, presented volunteers with certificates for their contribution after the end of the project.

He said: “It is great to see so many people in the food industry offer their time and skills for front-line workers.”

For more information on Plastic Pollution Awareness and Action Projects, visit www.ppaap.org.uk.