The Year of COVID-19 and 'unwanted changes'
Our plans for 2020 were to continue doing what ‘we do so well’ with the Bread Run, Food Bank Scheme, School’s Out Café and the Christmas Project but also add more community based projects plus another big venture for Derby but unfortunately COVID-19 gripped the nation and most plans we’re shelved.
However, until COVID-19 took its grip we managed to open our School's Out Café in February and fulfil our Membership agreement.
Monday 17th saw the re-opening of the café with new menus to accommodate the colder weather.
During the week we served 102 adult main course meals, 171 free kiddies main course meals, 18 breakfasts, 223 desserts,
304 inclusive sides and 13 non inclusive sides.
And then came COVID-19. Due to it and government restrictions we had to cancel events including:
March - Mother’s Day Lunch
April -Easter Sunday Party & Egg Hunt, Easter School’s Out Café, St George’s Day Celebration
May - VE Day Celebration Tea Party, School’s Out Café
June - Fathers Day BBQ & Disco
July - School’s Out Café, End of School Disco
and sadly all other plans for 2020 have been shelved until we get the ok from relevant bodies to continue
Also due to COVID-19 we had to restrict the collection of donations from M&S, Intu and M&S Simply Food and
restricted the Food Bank Scheme to ‘existing customers’ only. As COVID-19 hit we were also denied the right, after 4 years, to collect food surplus from some suppliers, as they chose to donate it to the new Derby Covid-19 Food Bank Scheme, resulting in the Bread Run being closed down for the foreseeable future.
Our catering division Café DinDin has also temporarily been closed down resulting in us having to cancel 21 buffets and 3 hot food catering events.
What did we do instead?
In light of having to cancel so many events and to bring some joy to our members we hosted:
The Easter Project
New for this year.
Because we couldn't do what we normally do at Easter, but had the funding in place we set up a series of on-line quizzes and simple entry forms to allow member s to win one or be chosen as a winner of an array of prizes, including Easter Eggs, Shopping Vouchers, Easter Treats, Take-away vouchers. Funding came from various sources and our reserves.
Then last minute we were donated ingredients for 72 3 course Sunday lunches. We were also fortunate to receive hygiene products which helped 200 people and 'wellbeing' packs, including tea, coffee, biscuits, cakes, baking ingredients and cookware which were given to 100 people. In total we gave away over £750 worth of goodies which were generously donated by The Asda Foundation.
The Christmas Project
Unfortunately due to COVID we couldn't host our usual Family Christmas Party but having received donations of toys and gifts we had a group of Santa's chasing round Derby delivering presents to the elderly, lonely and 'needy families in Derby.
Again because of COVID we couldn't invite guests to join us at a set venue so we chose to have, based on the budget, either ready cooked meals delivered to our most needy and regular Christmas Day Lunch guests or to provide the ingredients for a 3 course meal to families most in need but could cook for themselves. Funding was received from The Unite Union members at Rolls Royce, Derby, The Asda Foundation and various anonymous donations from members of the public throughout the UK via our Just Giving bid.
In total we spent almost £1300 on Christmas Day and we cannot calculate the value of the gifts which were donated but a rough guess would be around £1300.
Post COVID-19 plans
We still had plans for 2020 (all pending due to COVID-19 restrictions)
The Food Bank Scheme - continues to operate but on a smaller basis.
The Grand Party
A multi themed party to catch up on what we have had to cancel this year, a mish-mash of all the events in one massive fun evening. hopefully early in 2022.
Meals at Home
Other plans including the start of our Meals at Home service had to ‘put on ice’, but Christmas Day showed that we have infrastructure and support to make it work.
So 2020 proved a very difficult year but we are still here to help and we will strive to continue
and build on what we have achieved since 2013.
Whilst having had to strip back what we do we are using the time afforded to us to re-think our future and find new avenues to help more of Derby’s residents in differing ways.