Catering team to rescue

In March 2019, the Rothschild Foundation funded a scheme to provide meals for schoolchildren and people who were shielding. Now the Buckinghamshire-based charity that supports arts and heritage, the environment and social welfare has announced that the scheme is carrying on.

Working with local organisation Aspire and the local Waddesdon Community Group, the scheme provided meals for pupils who would normally receive a free school meal and residents from the villages of Waddesdon, Westcott and Winchendon who were shielding during the Covid pandemic lockdown.

From March to July 2020, a hot main meal and a dessert were provided every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

On average, 120 pupils and 80 local residents received meals each time, and overall 4,482 meals were delivered to schoolchildren and 2,850 to local people – a total of 7,332 meals.

Waddesdon’s catering team, including chefs Craig Clarke, Ben Thurkettle, Harry Cox and Dan Skinner, cooked these meals for the community to enjoy, giving up 17 weeks of their own time to ensure the scheme could run for the duration.

Ellie Stout, Head of Grants at The Rothschild Foundation said: ‘We were so pleased to be able to help local residents in some way during the first lockdown and we received such wonderful messages of thanks.

‘Our trustees were keen to fund this scheme once again to help people during another difficult time, and with the help of Aspire and the chefs from Waddesdon we hope to run this scheme until either February half term or the end of March this year.’

From 22 January 2021, the scheme will provide schoolchildren with a family meal rather than an individual meal, to ensure that everyone receives a nutritious meal once a week. Individual meals will still be provided for shielded people.

The foundation funded the initial scheme with a grant of £25,000 to cover meal costs and packaging and a further £7,500 of funding has been provided for the second roll-out.

Waddesdon Manor