Coronavirus: Organisations join forces to support Oswestry community project
Shropshire Council’s Community Reassurance Team (CRT) have teamed up with OsNosh, Oswestry’s food cycle and community kitchen project, Oswestry Town Council and Be a Better Fish Ltd, to help develop and expand its business.
OsNosh provides free, or ‘pay as you feel’, community meals to those who are hungry and struggling to make ends meet, or to those who are in need of some company. 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 delicious and healthy well-balanced meals.
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.
OsNosh did not have the space in their 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 our community. Moving to a bigger premises will now provide enough space for OsNosh to deliver their community meals, whilst adhering to the coronavirus guidelines.
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 over 150 hot meals to their local community, and demand continues to increase week on week.
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.”
OsNosh owner Ben Wilson added:
“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.”
John Price, a local Shropshire Councillor for Oswestry East, said:-
“It was an absolute privilege to be part of this amazing project and I am so grateful that this was one of last projects I had supported as Mayor of Oswestry. 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. “
Oswestry Mayor, Councillor Duncan Kerr said:-
“I am delighted that OsNosh have secured use of The Centre, and I would congratulate them on their work supporting vulnerable people in Oswestry. The town council have provided some financial assistance recognising the service they have provided during this pandemic.”
Paul Newman, founder of ‘Be a Better Fish’, works in the local community to help create and develop new and small business opportunities. Paul added:-
“We’ve been pleased to help enable conversations between OsNosh and the town and unitary councils to secure use of the temporarily vacated The Centre. OsNosh did not have the space or facilities in their previous kitchen to both operate a delivery service and maintain social distancing for volunteers. This threatened to prevent the vital delivery of hot meals to the most vulnerable in our community.
“We are now helping Ben reestablish 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 13 June. More info at facebook.com/OsNosh.”
Find out more about the work of Shropshire Council’s Community Reassurance Team here
Shropshire Council is to establish two multi-agency task forces to help address and minimise the economic and social impacts of coronavirus on the county. You can find out more here
The small team of eight to 10 volunteers manage all of the surplus food logistics, sorting, preparing, cooking, packing and delivering. They do so with care, and with a meticulous attention to hygiene and the well-being of each other and the individuals they serve.
Ben has been working tirelessly and creatively to conjure nutritious, tasty and wholesome meals from the surplus he is given. He even finds time to teach volunteers culinary tips and techniques whilst overseeing the entire operation.
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