A new community project has been launched to provide heat-at-home meals and support for ‘isolated’ people living in Bury St Edmunds.
Building on the success of their Festive Food project in December 2020, which was funded by Bury St Edmunds Town Council, Abbeycroft Leisure, West Suffolk College and Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw have now launched the new community project with the help of local organisations.
Reducing Isolation with Food (RIF) will support around 100 people a month for the next twelve months thanks to a link-up between a host of Suffolk based organisations.
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 Covid safe social activities.
West Suffolk College will then start cooking meals on 30th April 2021, with students from the largest college in the county using sustainable food donations from partners and Abbeycroft Leisure will deliver the activity, designed to improve social isolation and inspire a healthier, active lifestyle.
Students at the college will prepare and package the food which will be delivered by volunteers from the Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw company who will literally get on their bikes to distribute the dishes.
The project has been enthusiastically driven by Frank Carn-Pryor, Explore Outdoor Coordinator for Abbeycroft Leisure and he 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.”
Claire Waterson is co-ordinating the project from a West Suffolk College perspective. She 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.”
“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: “We’re delighted to be involved with the RIF project, which is a perfect fit for us – 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.