What’s cooking with Community Meals?
October 29, 2014
Cumbria CVS supports the many wonderful people who have kept, and continue to keep Cumbria’s Community Meals Service on the road.
Cumbria County Council has recently introduced changes to the way meals are provided to customers – bringing in private providers wherever possible. The process has been a difficult and disruptive one for the volunteers, but the vast majority have stayed involved with what they see as a vital service for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
An interesting development brought about by the changes has been the emergence of a new social enterprise. Fair Meals Direct is a not-for-profit scheme that takes healthy food to people living in Carlisle.
All meals are prepared using produce sourced from within a 30-mile radius of Carlisle – reducing food miles, helping the environment, helping to ensure a market for local food producers and providing a boost to the Cumbrian economy.
The meals are prepared by a professional chef based at the Water Street homeless centre in Carlisle, and delivered by a team of volunteers.
Cumbria CVS is watching the development of this new social enterprise with interest; we believe that the model – or something similar – could be established in other areas where the need for meals provision is not going to go away. In fact we believe that it could well grow – and with it the need to attract, train and support volunteers.
We know that for many people, volunteering to support meals provision is a satisfying and relatively straight forward way to get involved in local community action. Where possible, we will support meals volunteers to enhance what they do by contributing to other good neighbour-type activities close to where they live. Also, we will focus on the Penrith area for a while, as there seems to be a particular need there for general volunteer recruitment.
So, if you have thoughts about social enterprise development, local meals provision or the recruitment and retention of volunteers, get in touch with Jane Macfarlane at Cumbria CVS. She is in the business of promoting innovative solutions to the problems of service provision and is always keen to talk to like-minded people.