A Salford community café is providing weekly food packages to people who have struggled to access nutritious meals during the lockdown.
The Beacon Cafe on London Street had been facing bankruptcy and closure after they were forced to close due to the pandemic.
Community Pride CIC created the free meals scheme as a way to save the cafe and help locals who were unable to access food.
This created paid jobs for kitchen staff and delivery drivers to prepare home cooked meals that can be warmed up in the microwave for people who don’t have cooking equipment or are unable to make their own meals from scratch.
Company Director, Sarah Whitehead explains the problems lockdown has caused for locals, saying: “A lot of people are facing crisis and struggling with issues around food.
“Some people are shielding and others are really struggling with their mental health and are afraid to go out.”
“Many people are living alone in the community and their families and carers are not able to visit. This has a massive impact on their wellbeing.”
Bibiana De Sousa, has been receiving the food packages since the start of lockdown. She says: “I started getting food deliveries because of the lockdown.
“I have to avoid going out because I have health problems. It’s been very difficult and affected me a bit too much.”
“The food deliveries help me with isolating. It means I don’t have to go shopping or carry heavy bags. It helps me with my financial problems. The food is fresh, its good.”
“If it wasn’t for the deliveries I would struggle. The café has been a great help to me.”
However, the café is in desperate need of donations. Whitehead says: “Our funding for the COVID19 support ended on 20th September. I don’t know how we’ve continued to be honest.”
“The funding was only for the pandemic which was predicted to last for six months. It ran out and we’ve not been able to secure any more.
“It limits what we’re actually able to provide for people. We’re running on really low resources.”
“Much wider than the COVID19 pandemic there is a lot of people who need food support all year round, every year. We want to be able to help them.”
• Donations can be organised on the Salford community cafe’s facebook page.