Bringing meals and heartfelt thanks to NHS Workers in North Norfolk

Volunteers are making such a difference during Covid-19 supporting people and communities – and also bringing food and heartfelt thanks to key workers. One such volunteer is Nigel, who every Friday delivers free meals and snacks to NHS workers in North Norfolk, provided by the Holkham Estate as part of their Helping Hands for Hungry Heroes programme.

The programme, which depends on the generosity of many local suppliers as well as the Holkham team, has already provided over 3,000 free meals to staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.  It is now expanding its service to include frontline NHS workers elsewhere in North Norfolk, delivering a selection of soups, snacks and ready-prepared meals which the NHS staff can either eat on shift or take home.

Volunteer Nigel picks up the food – applying safe social distancing measures – from The Victoria Inn at Holkham and delivers it to Pineheath Ward at Kelling Hospital, the Simpson Centre at Kelling Hospital and Fakenham Medical Centre.

‘My grandmother was looked after wonderfully by the excellent staffing team at Kelling Hospital, so it’s especially heartwarming for me that our meals are reaching them too.’ says Lucy Downing, Head of Marketing at Holkham.

Before Covid-19 Nigel was a volunteer driver for the ERS Patient Transport service, taking cancer and dialysis patients to and from hospital for regular treatments.  He was volunteering three or four days a week and provided a friendly, reassuring service to people, making their hospital experience a little more bearable. He is a popular driver with the patients and it is a role he really enjoys, so when this role was paused, due to social distancing requirements, he was ‘completely lost’.

Voluntary Norfolk, which co-ordinates the volunteers for ERS Patient Transport,  is in addition to recruiting thousands of new volunteers to support a countywide response to Covid-19, redeploying existing volunteers where possible.  So when Ian Whiting, ERS Volunteer Coordinator became aware of Holkham’s food delivery programme he knew Nigel was the right man for the role.  ‘Nigel finds a real sense of purpose in volunteering and loves helping other people and making connections in his community, so we were really pleased he was able to take on this new role.’ says Ian.