Free heat-at-home meals offered to 100 isolated diners

Volunteers from Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw will be delivering the meals made and packaged by West Suffolk College students

Volunteers from Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw will be delivering the meals, which have been made and packaged by West Suffolk College students - Credit: Phil Morley Photography

Free meals that can be heated up at home are being delivered to isolated people in Bury St Edmunds.

The Reducing Isolation with Food (RIF) project has been launched by Abbeycroft Leisure, West Suffolk College and Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw following the success of the Festive Food project in December.

Reducing Isolation with Food (RIF) will support around 100 people a month for the next twelve months

Reducing Isolation with Food (RIF) will support around 100 people a month for the next twelve months - Credit: Phil Morley Photography

The new project will support about 100 people a month for the next 12 months.
 
Abbeycroft Leisure, working with West Suffolk Council and local organisations, will identify people in need and refer them into the scheme, where they will receive meals and, as Covid-19 restrictions ease, opportunities for social activity sessions.
 
West Suffolk College are cooking the meals, with students using sustainable food donations, and Abbeycroft Leisure will deliver the activity, designed to improve social isolation and inspire a healthier lifestyle.

West Suffolk College are offering their kitchens and students to help prepare heat-at-home meals

West Suffolk College are offering their kitchens and students to help prepare heat-at-home meals, using fresh food donated and gifted to the project - Credit: Phil Morley Photography

Volunteers from Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw will deliver the dishes by bike.

Frank Carn-Pryor, Explore Outdoor coordinator for Abbeycroft Leisure, said: "We saw an opportunity during the festive project to make the provision of food, conversation and activity for isolated people into something sustainable.

"So we hope that our monthly deliveries will not only provide healthy and nutritious meals provided by the catering department at the college, but also some welcome social contact from the fabulous rickshaw volunteers."

Students at the college will prepare and package the food which will be delivered by volunteers from Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw

Students at West Suffolk College will prepare and package the food which will be delivered by volunteers from Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw - by bike - Credit: Phil Morley Photography


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Claire Waterson, who is co-ordinating the project from a West Suffolk College perspective, said: “The festive food project was a great success but it didn’t seem right doing it as a one off and everyone else who was involved felt the same.

"We all enjoyed the experience of working together and helping local people who are living alone.

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“Our students are delighted to be helping out and so is the college. Now, more than ever, we need to look out for each other.”

Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw trustee Rachel Thomas said the project was a "perfect fit" for them.

"Our cyclists will deliver meals and a chat on the doorstep to members of our community who may be feeling a bit isolated."

Other partners involved in the project include Aspect Living, Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid, Bury St Edmunds Town Council, Gatehouse, Home But Not Alone, St Nicholas Hospice Neighbours, The Befriending Scheme, The Suffolk VASP and West Suffolk Council.

To help sustain the project, a crowdfunding page has been set up for donations.

Referrals can be made for anyone living alone in the IP32 and IP33 postcodes by emailing here.


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