Clapping for chefs marks the end of a project delivering hot meals to NHS staff

Published on 30 March 2021

Thousands of people stood on their doorsteps to applaud NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic, and they returned the favour on Friday to thank volunteers who donated them thousands of hot meals.

Staff at the William Harvey Hospital lined up outside the entrance to clap a delegation from Ashford Vineyard Church as they made their final delivery of food – having prepared more than 4,000 meals.

The dishes were cooked by professional chefs and local food businesses, who donated their time and equipment to support frontline staff.

The project started in January as a way of thanking medical teams for their hard work during the second peak of the pandemic.

Zoe Newman, head of nursing for urgent and emergency care, said it had made a huge different to staff.

She said: “The kindness shown has been tremendous. We are just doing our jobs but little extras like the meals from Ashford Vineyard Church remind us that people care and want to help and give something back to their community at what has been a really difficult time.”

Sue Brassington, head of nursing for general and specialist medicine, said the volunteers’ efforts had touched many people.

She said: “My teams have been overwhelmed by the kindness and compassion shown to them – both practical and spiritual.”

The project has been supported by local people, who made financial donations to cover ingredients and also left personal messages of thanks to the hospital staff.

Nic Kimmance, senior pastor at the church, said it had been a privilege to be able to support frontline teams.

She said: “We are overjoyed that over the course of this project we will have delivered around 4,000 meals to the staff at the William Harvey Hospital.

“We have loved having the opportunity to support our local hospital and heroes through such a tremendously challenging time.

“Our cooks and chefs have felt the same and it has meant so much to hear back from those receiving the meals about the impact it has had.

“Although the meals project is drawing to a close, we are continuing to cheer the staff on and pray for them. They have shown incredible resilience, courage and perseverance and we are incredibly grateful for their hard work and everything they have given of themselves during the pandemic.”