Pub creates food parcels for those in need in Garstang and district due to pandemic

If bells could ring out they would - to celebrate the caring local community which has responded magnificently to an appeal by staff at a Lancashire pub.

Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 12:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 12:13 pm
Caroline (left) and Heather from the Bellflower with some of the much needed food supplies

Although closed to customers due to the Coronavirus pandemic, staff at the Bellflower in Garstang have not forgotten the local community.

The pub has set up is own appeal to help vulnerable people in the area who cannot afford to get food supplies.

General Manager Heather Brandwood and her partner head chef Caroline Porter were on holiday in Sri Lanka when news of how the Coronavirus pandemic was hitting Britain first broke. They decided when they got home they would seek as best they could to help their local community cope.

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It was the start of an extraordinary appeal for food and essentials and the creation of a GoFundMe donations page.

Now, just weeks into the initiative they want to say a big thank you to the generous people who are donating supplies ranging from tins and dried milk to fresh produce, toiletries and sanitary products. Some £800 has also been donated to the GoFundMe page.

Heather said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic. We genuinely couldn’t sit on a beach thinking people were going without. We’ve always very much been a community pub. We do different things through the year. It’s the first time we’ve really gone out to appeal to the community and asked them to help us.”

Heather and Caroline have been joined by volunteer Emma Bamber and pub staff. So far they have helped around 60 families and individuals.

Heather said: “Bradshaw’s (farm shop) is giving us fresh fruit and veg. every other day, Booths in Garstang is letting us pick up meals every day, Old Holly Farm is giving us free range eggs. It’s really humbling to see.”

She stressed: “The Garstang Volunteer Force is going out doing shopping for people who can still afford it. We’re the opposite side of the same scheme. We get people to get in touch with us when they can’t afford it.”

Welfare packs of essentials are being delivered to Garstang, Cabus, Catterall, Scorton, Nateby and Forton.

Heather predicts a rise in demand as furlough pay cuts or lack of wages put more people into need. She added: “I think our biggest problem is people’s pride .. We are here for a reason.”

They are also aware some youngsters will be missing their free school meals and some people may be finding specific much needed products hard to locate.

The pub can be emailed for assistance on [email protected] It will also be organising drop-in open days for food collection for those who would rather not have food parcel deliveries. Dates for the drop-ins will be posted on The Bellflower’s Facebook page.

To donate cash search for the Garstang Vulnerable People Fund on the GoFundMe site.