As the pandemic crisis heads into its second month in London, even under the toughest economic conditions for generations small businesses rooted in their communities are going out of their way to help, with special offers for NHS staff.
Jose Joseph, the Surrey Street fruit and veg stall-holder, is offering 25 per cent off the price of his healthy produce to NHS workers. This is in addition to his weekly, Tuesday night soup kitchen that he has been running for more than a year for the town centre’s homeless and working poor.
In Addiscombe, The Oval Tavern might be shut for its usual business during the lockdown, but together with Selhurst bicycle specialists, Peddle My Wheels, they’ve teamed up to provide a food delivery service to staff working at Mayday Hospital.
The scheme is the brainchild of Sarah Milne, and is her gesture of gratitude following her own recent experiences in hospital.
Using a cargo trike donated by the bike recyclers, Milne is having free cooked meals ferried over each day to feed hospital staff, exhausted at the end of often gruelling and long shifts.
A crowd-funding appeal has so far raised more than £2,000 towards the cost of the ingredients, which are cooked up in the kitchen of The Oval Tavern, from where landlady Esther Sutton is also offering fresh, home-made meals for collection (or delivery for those who are isolated) during the emergency.
“I started this because I have been in intensive care three times myself this winter and on ventilators,” Milne told Inside Croydon, “so I know how difficult shifts are for staff at the best of times.
“I am in the extremely vulnerable, shielded group but I wanted to be able to do something to help.
“We know how much it is needed and appreciated by the staff. We have been told they are exhausted and often don’t have the energy to cook after long, challenging shifts.”
Milne is updating her campaign page regularly, while the communications team at the hospital are managing the donations to ensure that the wards and departments in greatest need get the meals when they need them.
The appeal for funds remains open, with the goal of providing enough funding so that Milne and Sutton can get on their trike on a daily basis.
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