Newly-formed Bristol Food Union raises £20,000 in a week to feed frontline workers


By Molly Pipe, Student Life Correspondent

Bristol restaurants including Box-E, the Pony & Trap and Emmeline cafe are among those to have formed the union, which aims to support the NHS whilst helping food outlets through the pandemic.

Under the union's scheme, chefs who have become unemployed due to the coronavirus outbreak will cook meals, which are then delivered to frontline workers free of charge. The restaurants are paid for their work by donations from the public, with one pound per meal going to the Bristol Food Union and four pounds going directly to the business.

'The Bristol restaurant community want to make sure that all frontline workers, delivering long and difficult hours, don’t have to worry about cooking healthy, nutritious meals for themselves or their families,' the union said.

'We understand the power of food to keep us going when times get tough.'

Meals will be delivered to frontline workers free of charge.

Funds for the project have been raised using a crowdfunder launched in late March, which reached its £20,000 target in just over a week. Bristol bands Massive Attack and The Emperials were the two biggest backers, with the latter gathering donations through an online DJ set. Massive Attack donated a hefty £10,000.

The money will enable the provision of 4,000 meals for key workers.

Food boxes for foster care leavers | Box-E / Tess and Elliott Lidstone

Individual businesses within the union have also created initiatives to help local people. Tess and Elliott Lidstone, from award-winning restaurant Box-E, packaged 105 food boxes to be send to foster care leavers. 240 boxes are due to be sent out next Tuesday, and the couple plan to provide weekly deliveries to the original 105 to offer them a greater degree of food security. 'These people have been highlighted as just needing a little extra love,' Tess said.

We're cooking for people who need it most - Tess Lidstone

The project has gained support from local businesses and people. 'Our veg supplier got involved with his van, and some of our customers volunteered to deliver,' she says. 'It's been a really nice community effort.'

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Box-E and the Bristol Food union continue to rely on donations, and welcome any support. People wishing to fund meals for frontline workers can donate here.  You can support the Bristol Food Fund here.

Featured image: Chloe Edwards Photography

Have you been involved in community action during the coronavirus pandemic? Let us know.