Insurance company’s catering team serves up meals for the community

Ecclesiastical Fair Shares

Generous Ecclesiastical Insurance staff have used their culinary skills to support people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With fewer staff working from the Gloucester based insurance provider’s offices at Beaufort House as home-working became the norm, Ecclesiastical’s catering team have been less busy than usual.

To avoid furloughing staff under the Government scheme the company looked at how the team could use some of their time to benefit others, and set about volunteering at a local food bank in association with Gloucester organisation Fair Shares.

Fair Shares was founded in 1998 and runs a time banking system, which encourages people to spend time helping someone out. It differs from volunteering, as every hour of time given is repaid with an hour time credit for themselves.

Since lockdown began in March, Fair Shares has worked with partners including the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust which set up the Feed Gloucester campaign, to provide 10,000 meals and distribute over 300 food packages helping nearly 600 people in the process.

With many people isolated or affected financially by the impact of COVID-19, the work of Fair Shares became a lifeline for many.

Members of the Ecclesiastical catering team, who are contracted to independent contract catering company Bartlett Mitchell, have been working with Fair Shares since early November and in their first week alone prepared 309 meals.

Reyaz Limalia, time broker for Fair Shares Gloucestershire, said: “With demand higher than ever we have been doing the best we can to keep up, so having extra pairs of hands has made all the difference.

“It has been so helpful having highly skilled support getting on with the job at hand. They’re used to meeting high volumes of orders and their experience helps everything run smoother and takes a lot of stress and strain off others. It’s been a pleasure to have Ecclesiastical’s catering team lending their skills to help us support the local community.”

Chris Pitt, head of responsible business at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “We’re keen to do everything we can to support charities and communities in need. Giving is about money, but it’s also about time and expertise.

“Our catering team have been able to use their skills and experience to help an incredibly worthwhile project which is well-connected to the needs of the local community and we’re so proud of their contributions.”

Work on the company’s new headquarters at Gloucester Business Park is progressing well with the internal fit out well underway ahead of the 2021 opening.