Community kitchen moved to bigger premises with help of local organisations

Oswestry's community kitchen project has been given a helping hand by local organisations, helping it move to a bigger space, so to continue supporting vulnerable people in the community.

Left to right: Paul Newman, Jess Bastos, Steve Charmley, Elliot Bastos, Ben Wilson and Tim Bierley
Left to right: Paul Newman, Jess Bastos, Steve Charmley, Elliot Bastos, Ben Wilson and Tim Bierley

OsNosh, Oswestry's food cycle and community kitchen project, provides free, or 'pay as you feel' meals to those who are hungry, struggling to make ends meet, or simply in need of some company.

Shropshire Council’s Community Reassurance Team (CRT) have teamed up with Oswestry Town Council and Be a Better Fish Ltd, to help develop and expand OsNosh and its business.

The community interest group uses food that is donated by the local community, food producers and businesses, that would otherwise be wasted, and turns them into healthy well-balanced meals.

However, OsNosh did not have the space in its previous facility to both operate a delivery service and maintain social distancing for volunteers, which threatened to prevent the vital delivery of hot meals to the most vulnerable in the community.

They needed to move to a bigger premises which would provide enough space for OsNosh to deliver their community meals, whilst adhering to the coronavirus guidelines.

So the CRT, working with the council’s estate team, Oswestry Town Council, local councillors and Be a Better Fish, have been supporting the organisation to help them move premises from their kitchen at Holy Trinity Church to The Centre in Oswestry, to enable them to continue their service.

Since their move in May, OsNosh owner Ben Wilson and his team of volunteers have delivered more than 150 hot meals to their local community, and demand continues to increase week on week.

He said: "A huge thank you to Shropshire Council and Oswestry Town Council for allowing us to use The Centre. This has given us the chance to expand our vital community work, reaching more and more people each week, and saving more and more food from landfill."

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s deputy leader, and cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration, who was instrumental in championing the cause of OsNosh, said: "I am delighted that we have been able to support OsNosh to relocate to The Centre.

"We know that many community organisations like OsNosh have really struggled during this time. I am really proud of the joint work we have achieved, and I would like to thank everyone involved in helping support and help sustain the fantastic work of this organisation."

Along with a team of dedicated volunteers, OsNosh provides meals to people across Oswestry and also Shrewsbury, and have been working closely with local charities the Qube, Designs in Mind and Shropshire Peer Counselling & Advocacy Service (PCAS), to support those in need.

Oswestry Mayor, Councillor Duncan Kerr said he congratulates the OsNosh team and that the town council have provided financial assistance to support their services.

John Price, a local Shropshire councillor for Oswestry East, added: "As a local councillor, I am extremely keen to support the work being done to address isolation and loneliness through these challenging times and beyond. I would therefore sincerely like to thank OsNosh, Be Better Fish, both councils and everyone else who has contributed to this fantastic scheme, which not only provides delicious meals to those in need, but help bring communities together."

Paul Newman, founder of Be a Better Fish, works in the local community to help create and develop new and small business opportunities. He said: "We are now helping Ben re-establish income streams, to ensure he has ongoing funding to maintain this essential community work. First up is a ‘Field to Fork’ fundraiser; a taster-menu of food donated by local producers from which Ben will create a home-delivered supper on June 13. More info at facebook.com/OsNosh.”

To find out more about the work of OsNosh, visit osnosh.co.uk/ and Be Better Fish at www.beabetterfish.com

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