We are really pleased and excited to share that we have been named as semi-finalists in this year's SO Star Awards, for their Community Award.
The Southampton awards aim to honour and bring public recognition to organisations and individuals across the City. Specifically, the Community Award is for a business, group or initiative which delivers support to the city and helps the city and its community - and we are delighted to be recognised for the work our teams do to support Southampton.
Alongside our day to day work of providing school meals for 46 schools across Southampton, we also reinvest funding to supporting families affected by food poverty. In 2019, we provided 2,837 meals to families in need through our Lunch Crowd initiative by opening up our school kitchens 32 times during the school holidays. Within this, we provide families with low cost and low equipment recipes, and the groceries to match, to help promote and facilitate healthy home cooking. With over 35% of the cities children living in poverty, and schools highlighting the increase in pupils arriving hungry, we know that just how important it is to support families during the school holidays when a hot school meal is no longer provided.
With our care meals provision, we support vulnerable adults Monday – Friday by providing a nutritional balanced, hot lunch as well as top up meals for the weekend. Often, our clients are impacted by isolation with 91% living on their own, and so our care meals drivers take the time and care to do more than just deliver their meals. Helping to plate up and checking in on their welfare is a key aspect of our service. Year on year, we are humbled by the positive feedback in our customer survey with 98% of clients reporting satisfaction with our service.
Across both charitable initiatives, we are able to support those who need it, to continue to thrive by accessing healthy, balanced hot meals – something that we all deserve.
Overall, we help the local area by supplying 1.7 million meals through our care and school meals provision. Through that provision, we support the community to get together through their enjoyment of good food; whether this is creating a positive dining experience for the cities youngest pupils, and nurturing a healthy relationship with food, or by ensuring that our most vulnerable adults do not feel alone in their own homes.
By listening to the feedback from schools, care homes, or our partnering organisations, we are able to provide our support where it is needed the most. By harnessing those local relationships, we have, for example, supported Saints Foundation activities in five local parks by providing children with free, healthy snack bags during the school holidays.
We support local community-led organisations, such as Make Lunch, who provide a place of safety and support to families impacted by poverty in the schools holidays, and help take the pressure off by providing a free, hot lunch for them and their children. We identify the needs of individuals who benefit from our care meals service to ensure that we flag any concerns, and make sure that even when Southampton is at a standstill for snow or the festive period, nobody doesn’t get fed.
All across City Catering, community sits at the heart of what we do and we are delighted that our teams are recognised for their hard work and, most importantly, their kindness. We are looking forward to the Final in March!