Tackling Food Poverty in Ruddington

A new, community venture offering a chef-prepared, two-course hot meal for just £1 starts this week in Ruddington.

Called ‘Heat ‘n’ Eat’, organisers say it’s a new way for villagers to enjoy affordable, good, wholesome food which will be served-up in the peaceful surroundings of St Peter’s Church.  It’s been made possible by financial support from Rushcliffe Borough Council, and the £1 cost also includes a soft drink. The first meal is on Monday 27th June 2022 at 1pm and all are welcome to book.

Church member Liz Mack explains: “It came about when Andrew (Buchanan), our vicar, and I were thinking and praying earlier in the year about how we could practically offer some help to our community – as we heard more and more about people having to choose whether to heat or eat. It’s often bandied about in the press but it’s a very real and hard choice more and more people are being forced to make on a regular basis. It’s a choice that no one should have to make – and we felt it was something that we really are all going to be in together, to differing degrees, just like the pandemic. When the weather is fine its less of a problem, but I know we are all dreading the energy price hike that will hit us just as the colder weather does.”

However, funding was needed to provide the meals, especially as they wanted to be able to offer them over the long term, not just as a one-off: “Another door opened through a conversation with Cllr Jen Walker over coffee at The Bottle Top, and she suggested I try for funding through Reach Rushcliffe, which Nikki (Roe) and I then did” says Liz. “They generously granted us enough funding to cover most of the cost of providing and serving the meals for a year. We always wanted to ask folks to make a small contribution to secure a place, £1, to ensure that people turn up, and we don’t waste any food, as it has to be prebooked. I personally feel it offers people some dignity, in that they can make a contribution even if its small, because everyone’s offering is valuable.”

Unfortunately the cooking facilities in the church are not adequate, so they needed to find an external caterer: “A door opened through a contact from our monthly Friendship Group which had used a company called Sycamore Dining to deliver hot meals to those housebound through the pandemic and beyond. After a chat with Chris from Sycamore, we found a willing supplier of chef catered two-course, hot meals who would make and deliver them to us to serve at church!”

Now everything is in place, Liz emphasises that it’s open to anyone – families, singles and couples of all ages – not just people for whom a low cost hot meal can make a massive difference to their budget: “We didn’t want to try and assume we know what each person needs are or to target a particular ‘group’, because we all need community, food and to feel welcome and valued, however that looks. The idea of offering a hot, good quality meal seemed like a good option, knowing we already had a venue and lots of willing helpers from our church family and, more importantly, because we genuinely love building community around food! Plus, my background is in catering so I already have experience in this sort of venture.”

The meals will be served in St Peter’s Church

Church administrator Nikki Roe adds: “The Ruddington community spirit is so strong at the moment, and we wanted to give something else to our village to add to all the other good things people are doing. Heat ‘n’ Eat is a new way for everyone to enjoy affordable, good, wholesome food. Over lunch we’ll catch up with friends, meet new people and take in ‘fuel’ to see us through the day. We hope you’ll want to be part of this new community whether you work at home or in a local office, live alone or with a partner, or simply enjoy socialising.”

You’re asked to register in advance for each meal on ‘Eventbrite’ so organisers know how many people to cater for. The current limit is around 30 per meal with the possibility of expanding it to more if there is a demand to do so. You can access the booking page by clicking >>HERE<<. For more details, or for help with registering if needed, you can email Nikki at ruddoffice@gmail.com. Diners are asked to arrive at St Peter’s Church by 12.50pm with lunch then served at 1pm.

After this Monday’s initial meal, further ones are planned on 4th and 25th July, 1st and 22nd August, 5th and 26th September, 3rd and 24th October, 7th and 28th November and 5th December 2022. They will start at the earlier time of 12.30pm. These will be reviewed monthly, and we’ll update you at RUDDINGTON.info/events if dates or times change.

St Peter’s Church

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