There will be a JOINT Zoom AGM OF CREst and One Norbiton
FRIDAY @11.00 a.m. 25/02/2022
To join online by Zoom
Join Zoom Meeting
There will be a JOINT Zoom AGM OF CREst and One Norbiton
FRIDAY @11.00 a.m. 25/02/2022
To join online by Zoom
Join Zoom Meeting
Topic: CREst & One Norbiton Zoom Meeting
Time: Jan 21, 2022 10:30 AM London
Meeting ID: 843 5006 2192
MINUTES April 29th 2021
CREst & ONE NORBITON’S 2020/21 Joint ZOOM AGMs
Held on Thursday April 29th 2021 AT 5.00pm
Present: Jill, Mike, Geraldine, etc.
1. There were no Apologies
2. Minutes were read for from the 21st of February 2019/20 meeting
3. No Matters arising:
4. Joint Chairman’s Review was delivered by Jill and Mike. See Appendix 1
5. Annual accounts for both organisations were presented by Geraldine Burgess See See separate financial reports.
6 Elections for officers. All existing CREst and One Norbiton officers agreed to stand again and were elected unopposed.
7 Date and time of next meeting was not set.
CREst & One Norbiton Joint AGM 2020/21 Combined Chairs’ report
Ms Jill Preston & Dr Mike D’Souza
This year of pandemic has been extraordinary for everyone. Because of lockdown One Norbiton has been unable to do much and has focussed on supporting Jill and CREst to provide food and help to those in Norbiton who were in most need. Therefore we are presenting this joint report on the past years activities.
One Norbiton’s contract to care for the Community Halls ended on 1st January 2021 and although the Council had agreed to continue funding us at 20k p.a. during our final year of 2020, to our dismay, they unaccountably retracted this promise. However, because of the pandemic all hiring of the Halls stopped and with that a substantial amount of our workload. Piper Hall has since become exclusively used by CREst’s Tuesday Group. Additionally, on Saturdays CREst and One Norbiton run a branch of the Food Bank.
Surprisingly, in response to an application by One Norbiton for a COVID central government small business grant, we were given, on the 5th of May 2020, the sum of £10k. This completely matched the loss we had suffered due the Council’s retraction. As you can see One Norbiton’s finances are now almost as healthy as when we first started.
With great bravery and efficiency, throughout 2020 and 2021 Jill has run the Tuesday Group that provides hot meals every week for Norbiton’s needy and Homeless. This Team includes Gez Burgess, Trudy Barker, Ed Naylor, Dave Ryder Mills, Jonathan Seyghal, Magalie Berger, Suzanne Buckingham, Alison Fure , Less formally:- Allie, Anna, Michael, Helen, Despo, Kay, Joy, Iain, Andy, Harry, Rhiannon, Iwren, Cameron, Nigel, Kerri, Amanda, Josie, Carol , Sally, Monique. Lara, Phillipa, Jo
We are also very lucky to have had the continued support from:
* City Harvest *Sainsbury’s Sury Basin *Save the World *The Dons
In addition to several local resident groups
This voluntary service and is now in its fourth year of operation and to date over 3000 meals have been served to over 670 different visitors (89 of whom were children). In addition, the group, despite the risks presented by the pandemic, have gone out delivering Food Bank parcels and vouchers and clothing and occasional bedding to those in need. They have set up Covid safe environment and a Test and trace centre where isolated people can meet. CREst has been helped by a £4k food grant from the Lottery administered by KVA and their Food Group sharing surpluses.
And CREst has continued to collaborate with other agencies such as the local Churchs who are doing similar work. Sadly, newcomers are still arriving nearly every week. Talking to people in the long queues they say this is the only hot meals they get in the week. Helping this group of Norbitonians remains one of our joint priorities. Regrettably we expect to be doing this for some time and only hope we can continue to get sufficient resources both human and financial to do this for as long as it is needed.
The whole concept and organisation of the Tuesday Group has, as most of you know, been down to Jill. It is no surprise that she and CREst have been awarded the Mayors Covid Award. However, recently one of her volunteers Jonathan Sehgal has died tragically at the age 41. We are also awarding both Jonathan and the Sunflower Roads Residents Association which his sister Suzanne helps to run. One Norbiton commendation certificates for 2020/21.
In addition to all the above activities, One Norbiton and CREst have continued to work when possible with CRERA to represent the interests of the CRE residents during the Regeneration of the Estate. The Residents Steering Group has now been replaced with a new Community Board. This consists of our three Local Councillors, the Three Chairs and three newly appointed volunteers from the Estate. This has been been achieved with Zoom meetings that are on-going. As the only elected but non-political individuals we intend to ensure that the interests of residents are properly addressed as the Regeneration program progresses.
We remain concerned about such issues as
Regeneration of CRE has and will continue to dominate our thoughts. It should be a real
opportunity to increase Community spirit on the Estate and we can now see a future more in line with what our Localism Pilot was set up to explore. However, this may be a good moment to set up a sub- committee to examine the benefits of more closely integrating One Norbiton with CREst in future. We were both set up with funding from central government and have now survived independently for two and one decades respectively. CREst has the advantage of being a Registered. Charity while One Norbiton has the use of the auditable bank account of a Limited Company. We both share the common purpose of promoting local community and our, now respectable, reserves are set aside for this project. We have always intended to promote gatherings, such as post code parties to welcome and integrate new residents after regeneration while prioritising the assistance of those in most need in Norbiton.
Before I finish, I must mention that although we have had our occasional differences, we have also had a lot of support from RBK’s staff and from our three excellent Ward Councillors. If we can work out how to produce stable and collaborative partnerships between volunteers and statutory groups, such as our own, then Society at large could benefit a great deal.
We must close by thanking our directors and all our members for the support they have given us throughout this challenging year. On a personal note, Mike must mention that he has now spent the better part of a decade being your Chair and he will eighty before the next AGM and hence will be reducing his workload. However, health permitting, he will be happy to continue to support his colleagues in any way he can, to further the cause of Community building in Norbiton.
Jill Preston Chair of CREst & Dr Mike D’Souza Chair of One Norbiton Dec 2021
The Tuesday Club is a voluntary community venture. It was started on the 11th of April 2017 by Jill Preston, the Chair of CREst with the support of Dr Mike D’Souza, Chair of One Norbiton. Its aim was to provide a personal service to ‘Street-drinkers’ who had surged in Norbiton following RBK banning them hanging out in the centre of Kingston. The club was based on CREst’s existing Mental Health Drop-in event that had been started many years previously, but which was no longer attracting many attendees.
The new Club was advertised by word of mouth as being open to all local needy and homeless. We then recruited Sainsbury’s Sury Basin whose customers donated weekly food etc. in receptacles placed at the supermarket exit.
UPDATE ON ATTENDANCES AT THE CLUB
In 2017, between 7 and 29 people began attending each week and 475 meals were prepared and served in Piper Hall. In 2018, weekly attendance rates rose; ranging from 16 to 57 a week and a total of 2093 meals were served. In 2019, the attendance rates steadied to between 24 and 65 a week and a total of 2,112 for 2019. In 2020, before Covid between January and March weekly attendances varied between 32 and 52 and a total of 488 meals were served.
By 24th March 2020 the pandemic had created lock-down. However, this did not stop the Tuesday Club which has continued throughout to the present day. Indeed, to meet the new needs of Covid, activities were expanded to include a Saturday Food Bank outlet until 31st July 2021 by which time we were promised the Food Bank would take it over. Unfortunately, this relief service has only started up this month. At the time of writing (January 18th, 2020) we have just. welcomed our 1000th(!) attendee to the Club. Over 60 of these have been volunteer helpers or ‘Observers’. Since mid-October 2021 weekly attendance has risen by 36% to an average of around 70 with a high point of 90 on 21/12/21. This increase seems to be related to the recent drop in Universal Credit and the huge rise in power costs.
Our Saturday food bank service attracted 68 of our usual Tuesday attendees as well as additional and
different customers from the CRE who were in critical need of Food and support. On average, every Saturday, we were supplying food to 137 adults and 81 children. Furthermore, about 64 food parcels were prepared and home delivered every Saturday.
We are fortunate that at least one of our three elected LibDem Councillors has been attending each week to help with more complex problems that residents encounter. This personal approach has helped to alleviate some of the stress which residents have been under.
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR CLUB ATTENDEES?
Demography: Of the 967 attendees 386 (40.3%) have been female.
Age was not collected. Children and babies have attended but the majority are young to middle-aged adults Nationality:
269 (28.1%) have non-UK surnames (These include Polish, Greek, South Asian, Japanese, Chinese, Middle Eastern and West Indian names)
What is their domicile status?
When we studied them in 2020 we found that 57% of our attendees stated that they had
been Homeless at some time. Post codes gathered all our non-homeless revealed that, except 2 with TW codes, all were Kingston dwellers with KT addresses.
How needy are our attendees?
Their Income: From a separate survey in 2021 of 32 attendees 18 (56%) of whom were women. 29 (91%) had incomes below the poverty line.
28% reported their personal weekly incomes after housing as less than £70pw
47% as less than £152pw
16% as less than £245pw
28% were in income stress and
28% in debt.
Their Health problems too were considerable; with 13(41/%) having Physical problems and 18(56%) having Mental health problems while 15(47%) were lonely. When we studied them in 2020 a high percentage had addiction and other health problems. Not surprisingly, their measured Quality of life is very poor. Previous reports on this issue reveal that it is dramatically worse than the rest of Kingston’s population. We have had to deal with occasional behaviour problems related to attendees emotional status, including recently to some objecting to wearing masks (they were given visors) and others refusing vaccinations. Most of our attendees, however, have been very friendly and collaborative.
Many of our health findings have been corroborated by word of mouth from attendees and a recent survey done by Iona Lidington, Kingston’s Director of Public Health, and her team. See “Cambridge Road Estate: A Health and Wellbeing Analysis July 2021” The Key suggested priorities of this report to improve the health and wellbeing of people that live on the Estate are:
(1) making it easier to book a GP appointment.
(2) developing a mental health strategy.
(3) reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.
(4) developing a strategy to help reduce drug abuse on the Estate. (5) improving Estate services and cleanliness; and
(6) help residents with managing their long-term health conditions.
In addition to such anonymous surveys, we have the advantage of face-to-face contact with this subset of this population in the CRE and its environment. In the context of the current policy to “level up”, this presents a real challenge to our relatively wealthy Borough. A personal approach seems most likely to enable change so in the club we use first names rather than surnames.
The Club has participated in Test and Trace and undertaken a separate mini survey in 2021. We asked 30 consecutive attendees and found that 22 had been Covid vaccinated but 27% (8) were refusing, sometimes vociferously. Because of working from home, RBK officers were rarely on the Estate in person. CREst and the Club however valiantly maintained an unbroken service and were often asked for help by residents.
WHAT ASSISTANCE IS THE TUESDAY GROUP PROVIDING?
We set up a ‘Just Giving ‘platform which was supported by many residents and allowed us to continue offering fresh fruit and vegetables (not available at ordinary Food banks) This initiative was regularly supported by our MP, Sir Ed Davey and his wife, Cllr Emily Davey who donated goods every week. We also received donations from ‘Save the World’, City Harvest, The Dons , M&S and many ordinary citizens and businesses such as the Bricklayers Arms have come in bearing clothes or other gifts. It seems to us that Kingston is really a very generous place.
In practice, we open Piper Hall from Noon until 2pm every Tuesday offering company, a hot meal, takeaway sandwiches, drinks, and a selection of food. Clients are allocated 10 vouchers and can choose to ‘spend ‘them on a large selection of tinned goods and toiletries. We also provide fresh fruit and vegetables (which are not available in the Food banks) and have left surplus of these together with bread and in-date ready meals outside Piper hall for free collection by residents. We now participate in KVA’s Good Food Group (run by Voices of Hope) for sharing healthy eating advice, and any surplus of donated food and we had valuable help from The Sunflower Streets Residents’ Association with the Food Bank.
Before Covid, we provided a venue for friends to meet up and play Pool, table tennis scrabble and other games as well as get advice on Housing etc and occasionally First Aid. Now we are participating in the Test and Trace battle with COVID and maintaining conviviality at a social distance.
Which Voluntary and Statutory groups have come to observe or contribute to the Club?
We have welcomed observers from statutory and voluntary organisations such as Spear, KCAH, NHS, Public Health, Wellbeing, City Harvest, RBK Officers, and CRE Caretakers Save the World, Community Enterprises Love Kingston and the new vicar, Hugo Foxwood, who is opening a Community Cafe/Food-bank in the Archway where people can get Power vouchers.
WHO ARE DELIVERING THE TUESDAY GROUP SERVICES?
The club has been run by Jill with the invaluable help over the years of 72 Volunteers. A major component of the work has been the logistics of transporting heavy food.
A former Labour mayor of Kingston has frequently cooked our meals and all three of our local Liberal Democrat councillors have attended and helped. We have had cross party approval and RBK Council Officers have generally been supportive particularly by ensuring the free use of the Halls and by refurbishing unused space for our use as a pantry. However, organising and providing the current level of voluntary help has been very stressful indeed and we list below all those who have participated:
List of Volunteer Helpers since 2017
Allie Croker, Amanda Oram, Amelia Marinko, Angel Levick, Anna Tugendhat, Annabeth Derry, Astrid, Brendan Hynes, Caroline Frost, Cecilia Wilkins, Claudia Estrada, Claudia Gravira, David Ryder-Mills, Debbie McArthur, Despo Stevens, Dylan Trivett, Ed Naylor, Elaine Erskine, Emily Davey, Emily Rhoades, Emma Hinde, Evie Hinde, Fadia ALRomeed, Geraldine Burgess, Gwen Harlow, Gwen Oearson, Harry Shepherd, Holly Rhoades, Hwa Bleakley, Iain Benson, Imogen Marinko, Iren Rakosa, Jane Shave, Jill Preston, Joanna, Jonathan Seyghal, Joy Bowers, Jules Doig, Kay Homes,Kerri, Lara Gibson, Lily Herbert, Lucia Esteban, Luciana Estrada, Lucy Hastings, Lynlie Clark, Maeve, Magali Berger, Mapheson Janarthan, Marcela Benedetti, Margaret Hannington, Mary Graham, Mathusa Janarthan, Michael Burke, Mike D’Souza, Miranda Gibson, Monica Gibson, Monique Sinclair, Nigel, Nikki Borthwick, Nina Dulanto, Olie Wehring, Pamela Dulanto, Phil Hutchinson, Rachel Herbert, Rashid Ali, Rhiannon Harlow, Ruth Dawson, Sarah Clay, Sara Derry, Sonia Delgado, Suzanne Seyghal, Tony Forecast, Trudy Barker.
WHAT OTHER AGENCIES ARE PROVIDING SIMILAR HELP IN KINGSTON?
KCAH and the local Churches Food bank are invaluable (particularly for Fuel poverty vouchers; indeed, without the help of our local Churches it is hard to see how many disadvantaged people in Kingston would survive. In addition, we have had help from KVA’s Food Group and from NHS Wellbeing for addiction services.
HOW WILL WE ALL KNOW WE’RE MAKING A DIFFERENCE?
In additional to the Director of Public Health’s Key suggested priorities we would like to suggest the following:
In recent months the attendance at the Club has increased by 36%. We predict that because the cost of living is rising so fast, many more will have ongoing needs that our statutory organisations will be challenged to meet.
For the four years since it started, our Club model seems to have worked well, providing some much- needed relief. It has been described by some attendees as “a lifeline”. However, the stresses due to the Covid pandemic are still far from over and further stress due to the regeneration of the CRE is imminent. Therefore, we believe it would be wise to closely monitor the quality of life on the estate and to do our best to ensure that current levels of social support are increased.
Therefore, CREst & One Norbiton will continue to collaborate with all other relevant agencies to provide reliable support networks. We hope that those formulating local plans will continue to give services such as ours appropriate priority; For example, that the Council continues to provide adequate free interim Hall and kitchen provision, without which we would cease to function.
However, we recognise that our decision-makers, like many other citizens, tend to be increasingly busy and often transient occupants of their jobs. Therefore, to really solve our attendees’ problems and “to level up” we need long term imaginative cross-party programmes that have buy-in from the voluntary sector and community at large for their implementation. On the CRE, such future programmes must also gradually incorporate the views of our new, incoming property-owning residents who will live on the estate after regeneration. We need now to build a shared commitment if we are to aspire to make Kingston a great place for everyone to live in.
The One Norbiton-RBK Trial of
Community Halls’ Administration. 1/1/2019 TO 1/1/2021
Jill Preston and Mike D’Souza (One Norbiton)
At the start of 2019 One Norbiton undertook a two-year trial to explore the value of a Community Group looking after the three Norbiton Community Halls on behalf of the Council.
During 2019 the overall use of the three Halls significantly increased and there were over 15% more bookings by new paying organizations. During this first year there was also an associated rise in income for RBK which came to £ 25,801.99 i.e., (over £5,000 more than the contractual payment of £19K paid to One Norbiton.) There was also a marked rise in ‘free’ use by RBK Officers thanks to the new ease of access. If this had been charged for it could have generated a further £800 of income.
Nearly all Users twice reported high levels of satisfaction with the service. Furthermore, One Norbiton met all its social targets by providing new opportunities for the disabled and disadvantaged on the estate to undertake rewarded Volunteering close to their homes. Thus, by all criteria during this first year, this trial was highly successful.
Unfortunately, it was clear that most of this success had been achieved by an unsustainably heavy workload. One Norbiton realized that if it was to continue to work into 2020, it needed to reduce the hours specified by the contract and get more realistic payment. However, the RBK contract that had been constructed by officers previously doing the job, instead specified that the recompense for 2020 should be reduced to just £9,547.96.
Fortunately, senior Officers and Councilors agreed that this arrangement was unfair and should be changed and One Norbiton continued working on the presumption that a fair revision was in place. However, it soon emerged that this revision had been overruled and before any further action the Covid pandemic intervened. This prevented all letting of the halls but despite these stressful circumstances CREst and One Norbiton continued to supervise the Halls and provide essential Food Bank services.
Our conclusions are that, in 2019, this trial showed that a not-for-profit Community organization could manage Community Halls in a very beneficial way for both residents and users at the same time as reducing the Borough budget for this activity by as much as 60%. However, setting this up again would require an imaginative and reasonable administration to frame contracts with realistic terms and not to be tempted to abuse volunteer goodwill by reducing costs below 20% of established rates.
The accounts as passed by the Zoom AGM have now been submitted to HMRC and Companies House a Draft is available for public inspection
Official notification that this year we will be having an online AGM with CREst via Zoom. The link to join is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82760693483?pwd=a05yVGdNc1l4VTM0a3RlVjA1bnVtZz09.
1. Apologies and introductions
2. To receive minutes from 21st February 2019/20 meeting
3. Matters arising:
6. To receive and agree Annual Report and Accounts for both CREst & One Norbiton for year 2019/20
Proposed by: Seconded by:
7. To Elect RETIRING OFFICERS of ‘One Norbiton’ Board
8. To Elect One Norbiton Officers:
Chair: Dr. M. D’Souza
Nominated by: Seconded by:
Vice Chair and Secretary: Jill Preston
Nominated by: Seconded by:
Treasurer: Gez Burgess
Nominated by: Seconded by:
9. Date and Time of next AGM
10. Any other business.
My father, Dr William Finny retired from General Practice in 1929 when he was aged 65. I was then six years old so I have only a few memories of our home “Thamesa” (on the corner of No 6 Kingston Hill and Wolverton Avenue)-I can remember the waiting room, the consulting room and especially the dispensary with all the rows of bottles and the pill-making machine. In those days it was normal for the doctor to prescribe whatever was needed and to dispense it himself after surgery time and then for the “bottle boy” to deliver to it on his own bicycle to the patient that evening. Bottle boys were quite a normal part of medical practice and presumably we had a series but the only one I remember with great fondness was George Pepperell- scarlett hair and I suppose about 14. His job was to wash the medicine bottles, stick on labels “Three times a day” “Before meals” or whatever and then perform a magical feat of wrapping the bottle in white paper and sealing it with a red sealing wax. Sometimes, as a very special treat, I was allowed to stick labels on bottles but never to actually wrap it up and seal it.
My memories of car transport are as follows. Father had two, so that one could be rested! I do remember a car journey to Portsmouth taking three days! Father never drove his pony more than 20 miles a day and so transferred this sort of thinking to his car. Therefore, it was inevitable that a 60 mile journey must take three days. Of course he had started his career with pony and trap transport. Two ponies were kept in what later became the garage. These were kept fit by being given, in turn, a hot bran mash and four of father’s pink pills after every hard week’s work. The Bottle boy sat beside father on their tour around visiting patients. Father drove and the bottle by held the reins while he went into the various houses.
Visiting patients in Kingston Vale after dark was quite a dangerous thing to do. Because the equivalent of our present day muggers lurked on those unlit country roads. So father always carried a police whistle and a loaded stick. I never heard that he came to any harm. He probably terrified the muggers! In those days, the doctor was never seen out of doors without his top hat on. I remember a row of seven hatboxes labelled Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc finishing with “Best” for Sunday. Presumably they all moved down one as when Monday became shabby it was given to us to play funerals with. In this way the doctor was quite conspicuous and was probably not stopped and robbed. More because the robber knew he wouldn’t have much money on him, than because he was on an errand of mercy.
Confinements always took place in people’s homes. Father said he’d stopped counting but he had dozens of godchildren. He was very much the family doctor; seeing his babies on a regular basis, going to their christenings, confirmations and weddings. And if, after a year of them having been married, he had not been called in for a happy event, he would present the embarrassed couple with a Gooseberry bush.
He adored babies and children and was, in return, very well loved. At his memorial service in 1952, the church was packed with ex-patients, standing in the aisles. And afterwards all of them lined the road from the parish church to the Guildhall to say a fond farewell to a man who had lived for 88 years at a fast and furious pace and always had had time to stop and give them his undivided attention. He had become a barrister and was elected Mayor of Kingston seven times. And had enjoyed his life enormously.
Random additional comments
This was, of course, before the NHS. To pay for medical care for the whole family, Pubs used to run “slate clubs”. Father was the slate club doctor for the George & Dragon and the Alexandra pub in Park Rd and probably for a couple of others too.
There was was often a queue outside the surgery door and a speaking tube ran from there to an outlet beside my fathers bed. You had to pull out a stopper and blow up the tube. This produced a piercing whistle in his ear which woke him up. Then you could hold a conversation up and down the tube
Surgery for Acute appendicitis was performed, of course, on the scrubbed kitchen table sterilised with lots of carbolic. Dripping chloroform on a round thing – like a large tea strainer- with gauze on it, was used as the anaesthetic. Father always used it on me for tooth extraction. I remember the smell so well – also the awful vomiting afterwards. He was an MCh as well as MD and BAO so he enjoyed the occasional emergency operation.
When Dr Finny was Mayor of Kingston the mock Tudor building with Saxon Kings on the corner of the Market Square was built.
His daughter Elizabeth Finny who wrote the above was my patient.
Jill Preston our Vice Chair and the Chair of CREst has written this excellent account of the activities of her team during this crisis
There have been a number of questions about what we are doing in Piper and our mission to continue the work we were already doing with the Tuesday Group . This has been running for a number of years and aims to create a safe environment to feed and assist local homeless and vulnerable people.
We have made every effort to keep this going throughout the pandemic even though we have had to change and adapt , as with everyone else. Last week we distributed 54 hot meals – more of how we have adapted later.
We do a food stock-check after our Saturday Foodbank. This allows us to dip into our donated funds when we shop on Sunday. Gez and I have perfected a system whereby I text her when I start shopping and she picks me up in her car afterwards to unload in Piper Hall.
Our key aim on Sunday is to ensure that we have sufficient supplies for our Tuesday Group session. We are very lucky to have a number of volunteers who cook nourishing food and bring it in just before we start at noon on Tuesday. Ed Naylor’s hotpot is always a hit!
Thanks to the pandemic we have had to increase the variety of goods we offer to our clients. We now continue to offer a choice of hot meals ( sadly in take away containers) plus a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, ‘kettle packs’ [ items that those in temporary accommodation can ‘cook ’if they only have a kettle such as cup a soup, pasta in a mug, juices, cereal , sandwiches etc.] In addition, we have toiletries and pet food plus cakes and snacks.
Monday – I usually go to Piper Hall to take frozen meals out of the freezer and rearrange the hall into ‘Tuesday’ mode. This means swapping around tables from the Saturday layout. Suzanne and her fellow SFRA members drop off ‘treats’ for the next day and Des Kaye from ‘Save the World’ calls overnight to drop off fresh fruit and other goods which we use to help our Tuesday Group clients.
Tuesday – This used to be our key focus of the week. Sadly, times have changed and we have been doing our best to keep up. There are normally a couple of us in Piper Hall by 10/10.30am to fire up the ovens and prep the vegetables etc for the hot meals.
In order to adhere to Covid restrictions we have had to increase both the number of volunteers and constantly revise the Risk Assessment. Tuesday is also the day that we receive a visit from Debbie at City Harvest where we are lucky enough to receive goods which can from fruit and vegetables, fresh meat, dairy and a variety of other things. We are lucky to have access to a chest freezer and an American Fridge Freezer which our local councillors have helped with.
Wednesday – another day where we review the food supply and reach out to our local supporters to ensure that we have sufficient supplies. This includes The Dons, Voices for Hope and , best of
all Sainsbury Sury Basin. We have been working in partnership with them for several years – long before the Covid pandemic. Our beautiful Treasurer, Gez, collects donations four or five times a week.
Thursday –This is when we assess the food situation and decide how much of our budget we allocate to buy in sufficient fresh fruit and veg to supply the ever-increasing numbers of clients.
By this stage we are doing our best to plan who can help out on Saturday. This depends on weather conditions ( do we erect the marquee?) temperature ( do we have volunteers to offer hot drinks? )
Friday – Myself and Trudy spend several hours in the hall receiving deliveries from the Don’s, Sainsburys and private donators.
We are lucky to have an excellent local wholesaler who is very reliable and with delivery. The 200 plus we are currently supplying does not make it possible to totally rely on donations.
Over the last couple of weeks we have had to seriously review our health and safety procedures as we are currently helping some 200+ residents. We have found that making changes to the halls before our Saturday session speeds things along. This can take some three or four hours.
On Friday evening Save the World and SFRG deliver donated goods ready for the ‘big day’
I spend several hours checking the register to update details and have found that it is faster to print out the list which I check manually and then update on Sunday. This is printed along with delivery list ready for the morning
This is our busiest and most stressful day. Gez checks the Save the World donations so that we can offer fresh goods to clients. I normally have two or three locals to attend at about 10am to prepare boxes for those who need food delivered. Michael and his supermarket trolly are wonderful. He has recently had a teenage lad with him to help as the delivery requests have doubled ( 13 this week)
Then it is a question of setting up a safe system for local residents – marquee and signs up, sorting tables out and marshals allocated. Then body warmers issued. We also allocate someone to hand out hot drinks as the wait can be up to an hour. RBK have kindly laid matting to reduce the quagmire and opened up a fence in the small green as an exit. This prevents clients crossing over by the existing gate. We have two or three ‘sorting tables’ outside which allows people to reject any unwanted items without holding up the queue – this can often snake round the building. We now allocate marshals to ensure everyone socially distances. Another volunteer brings in unwanted cans and clears the cardboard boxes.
On Saturday we also need a number of volunteers inside the hall – preparing fruit and vegetable bags, preparing small and large food boxes, and keeping us supplied with frozen and fresh food to hand out to clients as they are ticked off the list.
We are also lucky enough to have Cllr Dave on hand doubling up as a marshal outside but able to sort out urgent issues raised by residents- normally housing issues.
Shortly after 2pm we take in all the tables, marquee etc and leave any remaining food outside the hall for passing residents to help themselves. Then a stock check ready for Sunday and home to check the number or residents who attended ready to start again on Sunday!