Hope Kitchen is a social enterprise based in Oban, which serves Oban, Lorn and the Isles. The enterprise comprises of two parts: New Hope, the community hub, cafe and kitchen, and Green Shoots, the community garden.
Essential Supply Packs
Hope Kitchen started their response to Covid19 on 12th March by stepping up their supply of packs containing food and essential items, and advertising these packs locally. They worked with the Oban Times, social media, and Oban FM, as well as leafleting the local area, to ensure that as many people knew about the service as possible.
By Monday 16th March, they had established a delivery service operating 5 days a week, covering the whole of the Lorn area, from as far south as Kilmelford, as for north as Barcaldine, and as far east as Dalmally. Initially, demand was coming from people who had started to shield, and were unable to obtain essential supplies, as well as families whose income had suddenly stopped, and vulnerable households.
As a small charity, Hope Kitchen was able to quickly and effectively respond to the immediate needs of people, and put necessary safeguards in place. Due to their partnership with other local agencies, they were able to effectively target those in greatest need.
Watch a video of ‘A Day in the Life of a Hope Kitchen Food Parcel’ here on YouTube: https://youtu.be/r1ChVhkcNRI
This video shows the life of a food parcel, starting from food being gathered by volunteers, to choosing what goes into a parcel, and then being picked up by volunteer drivers who drop the parcels out to vulnerable households. Also included in the Hope Kitchen food parcels is a ‘Food Parcel Recipe Pack’, which offers tasty meal suggestions and recipe guides that you can follow using the contents of your parcel.
By May, Argyll and Bute Council and the Scottish Government had put in place a food parcel delivery system, but Hope Kitchen has continued to work along with Argyll and Bute Council care line to supplement the support they are providing.
Hope Kitchen has stepped in to fill gaps in provision since it can take up to 10 days for the Council to provide food, whereas Hope Kitchen can deliver on the same day as referral. For people who are not eligible for help from the council, or who need support urgently, Hope Kitchen has been a lifeline.
In addition to this work, they have been working with the Mull and Iona Pantry, a new service which distributes food and essential items on Mull. Hope Kitchen is helping to coordinate this response with some excellent volunteers on Mull who are aware of people in need on the islands.
Promoting Wellbeing Activities
Hope Kitchen is also partnering with Argyll and the Isles Countryside Trust to deliver fortnightly activity packs to people with mental health issues. Items included in these packs are seeds and compose, clay, paint, and puzzles. They have also provided build-your-own miniature picnic benches and a hanging bird table, to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors.
Participants have joined a Facebook group where they can share what they have made and also chat to other people both locally and across Argyll and Bute who are taking part. Currently, sixty people are participating, and the partnership aims to increase that number to 120 over the next 2 weeks.
Hope Kitchen is continuing to host their Music Group twice a week, but are now doing so virtually on Zoom, and through a Facebook group, where they set karaoke challenges, share songs, and enjoy music.
As the organisation’s premises are still operating to provide packs and goods, people are unable to come inside the space, but have been able to come to the door and receive support (with correct social distancing). Hope Kitchen are also keeping in touch with all of their users and volunteers, and are always on the end of the phone, as they are passionate about being a consistent and reliable presence for people.