Pub-turned community kitchen tackling hunger

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The Fed Up scheme has helped tackle food poverty during lockdown

A ground-breaking scheme has turned a pub into a community kitchen to address food poverty through lockdown.

Adam Franklin, who owns the Horse & Jockey pub in Melling with his wife Sue, started the Fed Up scheme eight years ago after being challenged by a foodbank to survive on one of their packages for three days.

During the coronavirus lockdown, Mr Franklin and his staff at the pub, along with volunteers from the area, have been putting together parcels for vulnerable people struggling with food poverty.

In response to the government’s failure to provide free school meals for children through the recent school half-term holidays, and in line with Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford’s call for local businesses to help, the Horse and Jockey team have provided 20 to 30 packed lunches per day to children and families.

Mr Franklin said: “During half-term it seemed the obvious thing to do to provide packed lunches.

“When the first national lockdown was announced we immediately turned the pub kitchen into a community kitchen to help people who were struggling in isolation. It was a natural next step as we had already been running Fed Up for many years.”

This wasn’t the first time Mr Franklin had helped vulnerable people in the area.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit back in March, Mr Franklin and his wife, together with pub manager James, launched ‘Melling volunteers’. The initiative saw 15,000 meals cooked and 2,000 care packages delivered for those who needed it most in the area whilst in self-isolation.

The community kitchen now has a team of 50 volunteers helping to support the local community.

The ‘Fed Up’ scheme also teaches people how to make slow-cooker meals, allowing them to be able to cook and provide for themselves at the end of a four-lesson course.

Each participant who takes part in the course receives a slow-cooker and a bag of store cupboard ingredients. It has been life-changing for some, as Mr Franklin explained: “A recent resident of a long-term mental care facility whose confidence was so low and whose anxiety prevented him from maintaining eye contact with anybody for more than a couple of seconds, completed the course and went on to become a kitchen assistant at a venue in Liverpool city centre.

“He visited the pub recently to introduce his fiancé as they are planning to get married next year. Slow cooking is still a major part of his daily routine.”

MP for Sefton Central Bill Esterson has urged anyone else in the area thinking of supporting the community in this way to contact Mr Franklin.

He said: “The Fed Up programme is just brilliant and I would urge any community groups or services in the area to get in touch with Adam who I know would love to take this programme far and wide and help as many people as possible to lead more positive and healthy lives.

“Adam and Sue are an inspiration and give so much to Melling and the wider community across Sefton and Kirkby.”

About Ethan Taylor, JMU Journalism