A new partnership initiative began this week with Slough Freemasons providing hot meals to Slough voluntary group members.
Slough Freemasons have been looking at ways to help the community. What began as an idea to help their neighbours at SHOC, has turned out to be a community project, providing freshly cooked meals to the vulnerable across Slough. A chef from the Marlow Freemasons Centre prepares the food, which is collected by a Lodge member and delivered to SHOC, 25 meals are then given to vulnerable clients every day.
Mandy McGuire, Head of Day Services, SHOC said, “We’ve been receiving individually packed, nutritious meals for our homeless guests. They’ve been very tasty with plenty of good quality ingredients and fresh vegetables. We’re really happy with this partnership, it’s allowed our trained staff team to spend less time cooking and have more time to deal with our clients’ needs.”
Slough Freemasons then got in touch with Slough CVS who referred them onto Slough Borough Council’s Community Development Team. With so many people affected by COVID-19, they looked to the groups they were already supporting.
Recycled Teenagers, a social group for older people have seen many of their clients shielding and self- isolating. 30 of them now receive a hot meal twice a week delivered by a friendly face from the Community Development Team.
Another SBC team, the Community and Detached Youth Work Team, who were busy during the pandemic patrolling streets and parks, saw that some young people were finding school tough. They identified a few families who were struggling and offered them free meals to feed the household which was gratefully accepted by six of them, relieving some pressure and giving the young people a freshly cooked meal when they came home from school.
Gary Brodie, Assistant Head of Buckinghamshire Province who has been co-ordinating the project said, “The idea grew as the Freemasons wanted to support those who need it most. We looked firstly at our neighbours and how we could make their lives easier. We opened our gates to give children and young people direct access to Slough and Eton School and have provided laptops and tablets where there has been a need. We take our next meal for granted, others don’t. Knowing that you will have a hot meal everyday makes huge difference to an individual’s wellbeing and allows them to think about studying, taking care of their family, or perhaps re-building confidence to take the next steps.”
The Buckingham Province who initially received a National Lottery grant to feed the vulnerable are currently providing 65 meals for 10 weeks until 18th December and plan to extend this project into the new year.
A great example of partnership working to support Slough residents.