We previously asked for nominations of people who our readers felt are doing exceptional things to help others during this particularly difficult time. Nominees could be doing something as simple as being a ‘phone buddy’, conducting online classes to share skills or they could be working on the front line with key workers who are battling to save lives.
We wanted readers like you to help us say a huge thank you to all of the people across our fab city who are pulling together and helping to keep things running. We at Podio Preston HQ are grateful for all of the nominees that came in. We need to point out that, like the snippets of good news that are featured in our weekly Rundown on a Monday, the number of kind-hearted people listed here are only a fraction of the heroes that are doing exceptional things.
Without further ado, here are some of the wonderful humans who have inspired us at Podio Preston.
Matt Wade, The Banana King
Matt Wade, The Banana King (https://banana-king.co.uk/) is a local fruit and vegetable produce business which has been on Preston’s streets since the 1920’s. Matt Wade acquired the nickname as many Prestonians used to buy their bananas from him and his stall on Preston Market (although he had other shops across the city too). Since then, his family have continued the legacy of the business, evolving so that they can continue to provide a unique service to the people of Preston, consisting of quality produce from around the world and quality service which the Banana King has always been known and loved for.
Not only have Matt Wade, The Banana King been a sensational business for over a century, but they have been doing wonderful things in the current situation in order to help out members of our community. An anonymous source told Podio about Matt Wade, The Banana King who has been delivering fresh produce to many in the local community- including people living in assisted living homes and sheltered accommodation. Not only have they been delivering things from their own shop but they have been going out of their way to get other items, from other shops, for customers who may need them, at no charge. On top of all of this, they have also been donating fresh produce to local food banks.
Now this is what we call a community hero! On behalf of everyone at Podio Preston, we want to say a huge thank you to everyone at ‘Matt Wade, The Banana King’, for all of the exceptional things they have been doing to ensure that everyone has access to fruit, vegetables and other fresh produce.
The Larder (http://larder.org.uk/) is a ‘social based enterprise located in Preston’ who promote nutritional, local and waste-free food. They re-invest their profits into communities in need. The Larder café, opposite the Town Hall, has often acted as a social hub in which many community associations hold their events. These range from knitting groups to simple social gatherings. You might have popped into the café before for a delicious piece of cake and a coffee made with love but recently, The Larder have been doing something different.
‘Cooking for Our Community’ was an idea which The Larder first suggested on social media mid-March: to provide cooked meals for people in the local community who are struggling the most in what was anticipated to become a difficult situation. Supporting their idea, they had over 30 volunteers willing to help their cause – along with delivery vans and the use of a catering unit offered to them. Since then, The Larder-along with supporting businesses and organisations- have managed to provide over 2,000 meals to the local community and they are working with The Foxton Centre, Age Concern, Community Gateway Housing Association and Social Services to ensure that they can ‘help support the vulnerable with cooked nutritious meals’ Alongside this, The Larder have developed and delivered ‘Kids in the Kitchen at Easter’ where they provided fresh ingredients kits and recipe cards/videos to local families so that they could learn to cook, learn new skills and spend time together. To find out more about the amazing things that The Larder has been a part of, you can read their blog here:
To The Larder (who spearheaded this project), volunteers and all other associated organisations, we wanted to express our gratitude for all of the exceptional things that you have been doing recently, in ensuring that people in the local community have access to nutritious meals, ingredients, recipes and the support that they need during this difficult time. You are our heroes!
Sewing For Our Front Line Workers
Sewing For Our Front Line Workers (https://bit.ly/3dexEfk) is a group of over 400 volunteers who are making and supplying essential items to the NHS, prisons and care workers in order to help keep them safe during the current crisis. They have been using help from members of the local community and some Preston-based businesses, in order to make good quality protective items which they have been directly distributing to a long list of places, including: Preston, Blackpool, Blackburn, Wigan, Chorley and Manchester hospitals and care homes in Preston, Longridge, Southport, Kirkham, Accrington and Leyland. Items that they have made range from scrub uniforms, scrub bags and headbands- which they have raised over £27,000 to pay for the fabric to make. They are continuously, actively speaking to places that need help and they ensure that quality checks are done on every item that they produce, in order to make sure that the heroes get the quality products that they deserve.
Sewing For Our Front Line Workers: you might be helping the NHS heroes but you are our heroes! Podio Preston would like to thank every single person who has been involved in this project and who has donated money, time, resources or their wonderful sewing skills in order to help the NHS and other front line workers in this truly exceptional way. You’re all amazing and we are so appreciative for everyone who has been involved with this.
Ashton-On-Ribble “Here for Humanity”
Ashton on Ribble ”Here for Humanity” (http://tiny.cc/im8coz) is a non-profit community group that was set up by a group of volunteers in the Ashton area of Preston, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, in order to help to provide food and meals for many different groups of people all across the whole of Preston, including: the homeless, isolated, elderly, The Royal Preston Hospital staff and foodbanks. “Here for Humanity” initially partnered with Evans Fish and Chips when they came up with the idea for the project- using their kitchen to make meals- but since Evans Fish and Chips reopened for business, they only use it as a hub and since then, “Here for Humanity” have moved to Ingol Community Primary to cook meals. The meals that they produce are made in a 5-star-hygiene kitchen with a passed, hygiene rated cook and they offer food parcels by mail, delivery or appointment collection. Meals for the PR1 area being served from the Tanterton Village Centre (which was originally closed to all organisations but they managed to get the owner of the Centre to kindly it open a few weeks ago, after realising that it was essential to have a hub in a rural area with an aging population). Meals for the PR2 area are being served from the Emmanuel Social Club.
The project is run by a group of twenty volunteers who help make 60 meals a day, 7 days a week and who undertake every element of the process- ranging from taking referrals, preparing and delivering the meals. A lot of the food that they receive is from Fareshare – although some of it has been donated from other hubs that have set up in similar fashion to “Here for Humanity”, which embodies the spirit of helping each other to help the community. Food donations have also been provided by several members of the community in Ashton-on-Ribble and several Preston based companies including Tino’s restaurant, Evans Fish and Chips, Adrian Livesey’s Butchers and Flame Urban Spa. It is pretty clear that not only is it essential to “Here for Humanity” that they help members of the public by offering access to meals but they also try to help other organisations and foodbanks to ensure that the produce that they have can help as many people as possible. The group checks the stock that they have every day and distributes a large amount of surplus (or near-to-date) food that they won’t be using, to a number of their different hubs or to local foodbanks in order to minimalize any kind of food waste.
To all of the amazing people who have been contributing to Ashton-On-Ribble’s “Here for Humanity” community group, we want to say a huge thank you from everyone at Podio Preston. We are so grateful to have groups like this who have come together during this tough time to provide access to food for those in need. People like you are what makes our community so great!
We have a message from our founder at Podio Preston, Andrew Neale, directed to all of our community heroes- those who were mentioned above and those who, although we haven’t named specifically, are doing similar things:
Oh Preston, you never cease to amaze and inspire me. It’s telling that, at a time like this, so many community members, business owners, students, volunteers (and anyone else in between) thinks not to sit on their sofas for the entire duration of lockdown, but to be proactive in supporting their neighbours. It breaks my heart that I’m not there to offer feet on the ground but, I truly hope, by continuing to lead Podio Magazine’s broader message of celebrating the good, that anyone, who feels down, disheartened or deserted, might see some hope after learning about the wonderful work that does go on. Please, I urge anyone who may be facing hardship or emotional challenges to seek support. There is A LOT out there. Much of which is just a phone call away.
Chloe, who wrote this piece and came up with the concept, made clear to me how thankful she is “from the bottom of [her] heart” She rightly quoted bravery, resilience and thoughtfulness as being key characteristics of those identified by our supporters. I couldn’t agree more.