VILLAGE PUB CREATES 5,000 MEALS FOR NHS STAFF

Pubs may be currently closed to the public, but it has been a busy week at The George Inn, Newnham, which has just finished creating a staggering 5,000 meals for NHS staff, as reported by the British Guild of Beer Writers

Husband and wife team Dave and Claire Elliott have run the Shepherd Neame pub since 2018. They have worked hard to pivot their offer since the impact of the Covid crisis, transforming the old stable into a village shop selling fresh fruit and vegetables and a selection of homemade produce and gifts, and also introducing a takeaway menu. They were delighted to be contacted by the team at the Medway Maritime Hospital a couple of weeks ago, asking if they would be interested in supplying takeaway lunches for staff at the hospital. Dave said: “They told us that they wanted to give their team a little treat as a thank you for their dedication during the past months, and were keen to source the food from a local business. They gave us a budget and we came up with five different dishes which they approved, and then we got to work!”

Dave and Claire brought back four members of their team from furlough to undertake the mammoth task of creating 1,000 meals a day for five days. They prepared and cooked the food from 6pm to around 10.30pm, then returned the next morning to pack it into boxes from 6am to 10am, before Dave delivered them to the hospital. They started last Sunday, January 17, and finished their final delivery on Friday (January 22). Dave, who is the pub’s Head Chef, used to work in event catering before taking on The George Inn, so he was able to come up with a delicious selection of dishes that could be produced in bulk: duck in hoisin sauce with spring onion, cucumber and egg noodles; smoked mackerel with new potatoes and chive mayonnaise; roasted vegetables with braised rice; gluten-free penne pasta with poached chicken and pesto; cous cous with sundried tomatoes and olives and griddled halloumi. The team also included a £5 voucher for The George Inn with every lunch. Dave said: “The past year has been incredibly challenging as Claire and I have been working hard trying to find new streams of income for the pub and support our team and our community, while also home schooling our three daughters Silvy, Elsy and Amy, who are aged from five to 15. Being entrusted with this order for the hospital has been a real boost for us. It was fantastic to be able to bring our team back together and there was a real buzz in the kitchen. We are also incredibly pleased to be able to give something back to our hard working NHS staff.”

James Devine, Chief Executive at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are thankful to the team at The George Inn for supplying us with thousands of discounted meals and vouchers which we offered to our staff as a well-earned treat. The distribution of these lunches was our latest way of recognising colleagues who have worked incredibly hard and sacrificed so much throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are also very proud that this opportunity gave us the chance to support a local business at a time of such economic uncertainty. We thank the Medway Hospital Charity for their financial support and also Dave, Claire and the entire George Inn team for their generosity.”

Find out more about The George Inn at www.thegeorgeinnnewnham.co.uk

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