Country park using kitchen to prepare meals for vulnerable during virus pandemic

Kingfishers staff are hard at work to ensure nearby residents can be fed Picture: KINGFISHERS

Kingfishers staff are hard at work to ensure nearby residents can be fed Picture: KINGFISHERS - Credit: Archant

Kind-hearted staff at a Suffolk country park are using their facilities to feed the vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis - and have appealed for help from the community.

Kingfishers, at Cretingham Country Park near Framlingham, are preparing home-cooked meals in their kitchen, with volunteers delivering the food to those in need.

The scheme, dubbed Kingfisher Community Kitchen, has already received £5,000 in donations so far - enough to keep the project running for a month.

Claire and Matthew Thacker, owners of Kingfishers, have launched the scheme in conjunction with entrepreneur Paddy Bishopp, co-founder of start-up hub Shout About Suffolk.

Mrs Thacker said: “We are intending to use our kitchen facilities at Kingfishers to feed the most vulnerable in the communities.

“Our kitchen team is ready to provide home cooked, ready-meals for all those in need and we are set up to deliver to the door, at a safe distance, for all our vulnerable neighbours.”

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East Suffolk has one of the highest populations of over 70s in the UK, with around 20% of residents believed to fall in the age bracket.

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Elderly people are particularly prone to coronavirus, with the risk of serious illness much higher in older people.

To combat this, Kingfisher Community Kitchen launched last Friday at the country park, joining a number of resident schemes in Suffolk aimed at helping the vulnerable through the pandemic.

All the meals will be prepared by Kingfishers head chef Mark Blatchford, while an army of volunteers will be tasked with delivering them to homes in the villages surrounding Cretingham.

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Mrs Thacker said the scheme is strictly not-for-profit, with a weekly package of seven meals costing just £25.

However, NHS frontline staff or in nearby villages will be able to get meals for free, while those suffering financial hardship may be eligible for a discount.

Kingfishers are now appealing for volunteers and donations to the scheme - but have been blown away by the level of support they have received so far.

Mr Bishopp said: “Everyone has been so supportive in their own way. It’s all about finding the vulnerable people in our communities.”

You can find out more about the scheme by clicking here.

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