Donations needed for Ludlow charity to continue providing meals for the vulnerable

Volunteers in Ludlow have cooked more than 3,000 meals during the pandemic for vulnerable people or those self-isolating.

Diane Garrini preparing to cook food
Diane Garrini preparing to cook food

Hands Together Ludlow has been cooking up meals and delivering them around the area, all from their own funds, for people in need or isolating at home.

The charity, which was set up a few years ago, is now appealing for donations to help them carry on through the second lockdown.

Peter Gray, volunteer co-ordinator, said this year, the group has grown from strength to strength but that growth means they still require more volunteers and financial donations.

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"The charity has been going for a couple of years now," he said. "We aim to solve local people's problems. We are right out on the county border so we often need to look after ourselves.

"It all came from the churches in Ludlow, who instead of doing something separately, decided to start a group up together. It has grown and grown since then, and is non-faith based now."

Diane Garrini with volunteer drivers Mark Mantle and Richard Pickering

Peter said that unfortunately there a lot of people on their own or isolated who they try and reach out to.

"In a town like Ludlow, a lot of people will retire here and so they don't have any links to the community itself," he said. "Then perhaps nature takes its course and their other half dies, and they are left alone. There is an amazing amount of people living alone and feeling socially isolated. So we use food to tackle that.

"We used to hold big community lunches which were really popular – we would go and pick people up and then bring them to dinner cooked by our volunteers. We probably had about 20 people a week attend those, now we are delivering around 70 meals a week. It has definitely grown because of lockdown."

Volunteer driver Mark Mantle loading his vehicle with food

The charity is in desperate need of donations to ensure the service they provide, which is vital to many, can continue through to the Christmas period.

They do get support from Tesco's Fair Share project, where they get any surplus food to save it going to landfill.

Peter said: "We cook it up straight away and freeze it. We then have teams of delivery drivers who deliver it to people. But really we need some cash to keep buying food.

Diane Garrini and Peter at Helena Lane Community Centre in Ludlow

"At the moment we are planning for Christmas Day – we will be going out and delivering meals then as well. Normally, we hold a big lunch that lasts for hours and hours because no one wants to leave. Ludlow Food Centre have kindly donated a load of food for us to use then. We have about 40 people a week we deliver for, that's from referrals or just people who we know can't get out.

"For people who can't get out to get food and aren't hooked up to the internet so can't order delivery, we have partnered up with the Ludlow Co-Op. If anybody needs to order groceries, they can phone up the shop who will pick it and pack it for them, and then our delivery drivers go and pick it up to deliver to people in the community. That is now happening on Tuesdays and Thursdays."

To enquire about volunteering, call the community helpline on 01584 817250. To donate, contact Sarah, on 07464 068478 or at admin@handstogetherludlow.org.uk.

Call 01584 877080 to get through to Ludlow Co-Op for their delivery scheme.

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