Putting the 'C' in Gloucester

Putting the 'C' in Gloucester

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On the eve of a bank holiday weekend I thought this was a good moment for us all to reflect on the 'C' letter in Gloucester. I mean 'C' for Community.

Of course the words ‘community response’ are in danger of becoming another Coronavirus cliché, along with ‘social distancing’ and ‘self isolation’. But community should have a much longer shelf life and greater future than either of those. COVID19 has reminded us how much family, friends and neighbours matter, and every little step to recognising that – the small Zoom quiz group that one neighbour has set up where we live – brings us closer, and we all benefit.

You can see that best in the groups that are involved in getting food to those most in need (partly because they can’t safely go out). Hash Norat’s Feed the Hungry was born to help rough sleepers a few years ago, and Gloucester charity HaVinG (declaration of interest as joint patron) has been funding food for over a year: and the Long Table was born in Stroud a while back. Others have sprung up directly because of the pandemic.

Butlers on Eastgate St is normally our best bar and nightclub – now Justin Hudson has turned it into a logistics base.

The old barracks at Chequers, now the Friendship Café, is used for everything from meetings to archery lessons, but never previously lined with long tables for (free) food delivery chains. I’m putting out a video on FB tomorrow with volunteer Jill talking about why she’s involved there, an inspiring story. 

Meanwhile Emily of Gloucester Fairshares didn’t expect to be cooking bakes for 40-50 twice a week, and while the Redwell Centre in Matson is often feeding different groups, and hosting wonderful Christmas parties, it hasn’t quite looked like a mini Foodbank before, or have Spiderman delivering bread and milk rounds.

The small army of volunteers involved – in streets across the city, with many Councillors and others  - some through the Gloucestershire County Council Help Hub, some through Jennie Watkins’ network and others direct with the charities or group's involved. The sources of food and funding are varied – our councils, charities, Unilever, the supermarkets and other businesses and donors.

To all of you – thank for you for bringing community and the ‘C’ letter in Gloucester alive. Now to see how we can keep it going...

I've tried to summarise the services of supermarkets, food delivery services and restaurants in this handy sheet. Please do feel free to download and print from my website. 

Food Support Sheet

Best regards

P.S. I am going to give Certificates of Appreciation to constituents who have gone the extra mile during this pandemic - Do let me know anyone you'd like to nominate by emailing richard.graham.mp@parliament.uk


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