| 17°C Belfast

Derry charity serves up 500 hot meals daily to most vulnerable people during coronavirus outbreak

Close

Destined chef Sha Martin, Sharon Duddy and Christine Breslin prepare hundreds of meals a day in the kitchen of Long Tower Primary School

Destined chef Sha Martin, Sharon Duddy and Christine Breslin prepare hundreds of meals a day in the kitchen of Long Tower Primary School

Destined chef Sha Martin

Destined chef Sha Martin

Destined chef Sha Martin, Sharon Duddy and Christine Breslin prepare hundreds of meals a day in the kitchen of Long Tower Primary School

A charity that supports people with learning disabilities has started a meal delivery service to its members and other vulnerable adults who would not otherwise get a hot dinner.

Staff at Destined, based on Foyle Road in Londonderry, were concerned that many of their members who have underlying health issues would miss out on healthy meals and socialising after the centre closed its doors.

This inspired employees and volunteers to take on the mammoth task of cooking and delivering hundreds of meals to people right across the city.

Destined manager Charlene Keenan said: "We work with people on a day to day basis but as we have been closed to the public for a number of weeks now, these people are at home.

"Many of them are unable to get out for daily exercise or to get the essentials because they have underlying health issues so we were very concerned about their wellbeing.

"We have stayed in touch with our members, asking what they need most and the feedback we got was, first and foremost, the contact with us.

"The second most common thing we heard was that people were struggling to get a proper meal. A lot of people with learning disabilities just would not have the skills to actually prepare a healthy meal but this scheme means they will get that healthy, balanced meal made from fresh ingredients every single day, delivered to their own home."

The offer hasn't been restricted to members of Destined and is open to any disabled or vulnerable person in the city.

Ms Keenan continued: "This really is about supporting the most vulnerable people who cannot leave their homes.

"When our volunteers arrive to deliver the meals, they are also providing that social aspect that so many people who are isolating are missing out on and that's why this is so important.

"We want to extend this service beyond our members so we are offering it to anyone in the wider Derry city area who is disabled or vulnerable.

"On our first day this week, we delivered over 200 but we think we could do up to 500 maximum if it is needed. We would encourage as many people as possible to contact us and let us know if they or someone they know is either disabled or vulnerable and would like a hot meal delivered."

The meals, which cost a nominal fee of £2 including delivery, can be ordered by calling 07902 379 296 between 10am and 1pm.

Belfast Telegraph