- Date awarded: January 2021
- Awarded value: £9,500
- Fund: NHS Charities Together Community Partnership Grants Programme
- Location: Lo'gelly Lunch Hub, Lochgelly Town Hall
Fife Health Charity provided funding via the NHS Charities Together Community Partnership Grants Programme to support launching and running a weekly community lunch hub at Lochgelly Town Hall to help local people counter social isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic and increase opportunities for community contact and interaction.
The challenges local people faced in being socially isolated during the Covid-19 pandemic were a driving force in the creation of community-based initiative, Lo’gelly Lunches. Recognising the need to create a facility that provides a place to meet, eat and get involved in activities for people from the Lochgelly area, Fife Health Charity supported the initiative with funding via the NHS Charities Together Community Partnership Grants Programme.
Set up and co-ordinated during its initial stage by Lorraine Mullen from Fife Council and a team of volunteers, the project delivered 19 weekly sessions that helped feed 4197 people in the Lochgelly area, offering either a hot hatch or packed meal service.
In addition to being able to buy some food stuffs and with a view to providing post-pandemic services, funding support from Fife Health Charity enabled the hub to purchase essential equipment, including soup urns, tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery, and boost social interaction by offering access to games and activities, all of which have contributed to the ongoing life of the project.
Providing access to tasty, nutritious food aside, encouraging social inclusion and engagement is a key aspect of the Lo’gelly Lunches hub. People dropping in on Tuesdays and Fridays for a cuppa, snack or meal can lead to all kinds of positive opportunities, such as finding out about an adult learning course or being able to ask for help regarding a welfare issue. Volunteers are developing new skills by going through elementary food hygiene training. Local primary school children are even getting in on the action and developing their people skills.
“The hub has really good links with a local primary school,” Lorraine Mullen, the former co-ordinator of the hub, continues. “Having the children visit while people are having lunch is a great way to mix the generations. The children love it and older people enjoy the children coming along, chatting to them and doing a bit of serving and helping to tidy up, that sort of thing. So that’s another positive aspect that we didn’t envisage developing as a result of the initial project.”
The Difference Our Funding is Making
Following the end of the lockdown, Lo’gelly Lunches redefined how it could continue to best help the local community. Moving away from the initial hot hatch meal and pack lunch service, the hub now runs a weekly cafe within Lochgelly Town Hall every Tuesday between 11am and 1pm, offering a variety of tasty meals, snacks and treats that are prepared and served by an ever growing team of local volunteers.
Inspired by the success of the initial project, Lo’gelly Lunches has branched out to set up and run a Community Larder every Friday, which serves around 100 people each week, many of whom are able to access free food to feed not only themselves but also their families.
“People were looking for help,” explains Lorraine Mullen. “Thanks to the support we received from Fife Health Charity, we were able to say we can help and people from the local community came and accessed what we were offering.”
"Today, Lo’gelly Lunches and the Community Larder are still engaging with people. The services the hub offers have continued to evolve post-pandemic, and that’s a credit to the staff and the volunteers who are still working there and part of its growing success.”