Published on 16th April 2020

Funding from Cheshire police and crime commissioner’s Safer Communities Fund has been given to a community organisation which is delivering food packages to people self-isolating or shielding from the Coronavirus.

The Port Grocery delivering more than 120 fresh food parcels a day to families in Ellesmere Port who are self-isolating, suffer from underlying health conditions or are elderly or vulnerable.

The community group, which usually operates a shop based at Trinity Church in the town, has seen an additional 400 individuals referred to its service since the start of the pandemic and has established a home delivery service to ensure those in need have access to fresh food.

The non-for-profit organisation collects an average of 8-10 tonnes of food each week from local supermarkets and retailers that would normally have been destined for landfill.

The Port Grocery shop sign.PNG

A £1,000 express grant from PCC David Keane along with further funding from the Steve Morgan and Westminster Foundations is ensuring vulnerable members of the community have access to the high quality, low cost, healthy food.

PCC David Keane said: “The coronavirus has presented an unprecedented crisis in our communities with more people than ever having to rely on local volunteers and support groups to get access to vital supplies.

“It’s fantastic to see so many community organisations like The Port Grocery responding to this crisis and supporting vulnerable people. If there is one positive thing we are seeing at the moment, it is a real spirit in our communities of people pulling together to help their neighbours.

“This helps cement the fact that we are all in this together and that we all need to support each other in the best way we can. The Safer Communities express grant fund is about empowering local people to take action.”

Mike Steenkemp, director of The Port Grocery, added: “The impact of this home delivery service will be immense and form an integral part of the lives of many vulnerable, isolated, lonely individuals as well as those near end-of-life and suffering from underlying medical conditions.

“Although many people are in isolation, our delivery service and our friendship lines are reducing loneliness and letting those members of the community who need our help know that somebody cares about them and is concerned for their wellbeing and safety.

“An additional impact of this project is that those individuals who are still fit and healthy and would ordinarily be stuck at home are using their time to now benefit the community in many ways by offering their services as volunteers whilst at the same time increasing their knowledge and future employability by learning new skills.”