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Shropshire Council's catering team provide meals to homeless during lockdown

Claire Downing, Column Restaurant manager with a box of hot lunches ready for distribution

More than 80 homeless people who have been placed in temporary accommodation in a number of hotels across Shropshire are receiving daily meals, thanks to a partnership between Shropshire Council’s housing services team and Shire Services, the council’s catering and cleaning arm.

Shire Services catering staff have been redeployed from a variety of sites, including school kitchens, to prepare breakfasts, packed teas and hot lunches seven days a week.

They have been working alongside housing services colleagues to ensure those placed in temporary housing have access to hot meals every day, without the need to undertake unnecessary trips – therefore abiding by Government guidance.

Hot meals – such as cottage pie, cauliflower cheese with bacon, pasta bolognese, and sausage, mash and onion gravy – are freshly made each day at the Column Restaurant at Shirehall and delivered to the hotels in time for lunch.

Claire Downing, Column Restaurant manager, said: "We initially provided the service on 27 April to around 30 people at just two locations in Shrewsbury, but as demand increased this quickly grew to 85 people at 10 sites across the county.

"Our staff have been brilliant, providing much-needed meals to those who need them most, and we know that this has been greatly appreciated by those who’ve received them. We’re proud that our efforts really are making a difference to some of the county’s most vulnerable people at this difficult time.”

Each delivery also includes dessert, and further food parcels for a teatime meal and breakfast for the following morning.

The experienced kitchen staff cater for all special dietary requirements and use fresh ingredients, with menus changing each day.

Laura Fisher, Shropshire Council’s housing services manager, said: "The partnership between us and Shire Services is brilliant. Knowing that our clients are receiving hearty well-cooked food at a time when health is so significant is great. We are really pleased that we are able to help our clients to socially distance and self-isolate, as they are not having to leave their hotels unnecessarily.”

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