Brighton school staff join forces with community pub to provide lockdown lunches

Posted On 23 Apr 2020 at 3:55 pm

Staff at a Brighton school have linked up with a community pub to prepare hundreds of meals a week to be served up during the coronavirus lockdown.

And thanks to a £10,000 donation, they are likely to be able to feed some of the most vulnerable children and families over the coming few months while schools remain closed.

The meals on wheels service has been set up by staff from the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) with help from the Bevy community pub.

BACA principal Bob Speight said: “There are many unknowns in the coming weeks and months but we are keen to do everything we can to support this project and help the community get through this challenging period.

“While obviously focusing on supporting our students’ learning and wellbeing during this period, we also knew we had to reach out further.

“The academy is lucky to have fantastic catering facilities and a true professional in chef Ricky Hodgson, who was willing to combine his vital role as head of year 10 with the leadership of this project.”

He praised the Bevy as a ground-breaking community pub and café that has been serving the local area for five years.

BACA students and staff have joined forces with the Bevy before, helping the Moulsecoomb pub with its Friday Friends Club – a charity providing weekly meals and entertainment for dozens of older people.

Now, with some help from other local organisations, BACA and the Bevy have set up a meals on wheels service to support some of the more vulnerable members of the local community.

Within a week, a core team of staff had cooked, chilled and frozen over 800 meals that could be safely and easily reheated at home.

Mr Speight said: “Since then, we are delighted to announce that Sir Rod Aldridge, through the Aldridge Foundation charity, is making a £10,000 contribution to support this project over the next two months, which hugely increases numbers of people we can reach.

“That funding will enable an additional 400 meals per week over the next 12 weeks to be cooked and distributed to the most vulnerable students and families surrounding BACA.”

Mr Hodgson said: “To be in a position to help out in any small way in the community I have been a part of for many years is really important to me”.

The meals are made in BACA’s catering kitchen from surplus food ingredients and fresh produce delivered via the Bevy from FareShare Sussex, Brighton Food Factory and other local organisations.

The team then provides a contact-free doorstep delivery service of meals, tinned food and other essentials to families in need.

Mr Speight added: “We have seen a great response to our efforts so far and we intend to continue to do as much as we can to support those in need.”

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