COVID-19: Good news stories

COVID-19 Good News Story: The Neighbour’s Kitchen

09 April 2020
3 minute read

Jhanvi Gudka

Today’s Good News Story comes from The Neighbour’s Kitchen – a not-for-profit project set up by Paul Hugill to provide daily nutritious meals to the most vulnerable community members. Paul set up The Priory Hotel in Louth in 2001 and went on to build a strong team by providing opportunities to those with learning difficulties.

Despite a promising start to the year, the impact of COVID-19 and social distancing saw occupancy drop to 10% and nearly put Paul out of business overnight. Paul has since made use of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme and has now turned his attention to helping those most in need during these challenging times. 

A two-man band, Paul and his colleague Ben – whom Paul moved into his family home to help him cope with his mental health – decided to transform The Priory Hotel into a community kitchen. At its heart, The Neighbour’s Kitchen is all about people supporting people. It started with Paul cooking the food and delivering it himself, but the community has come together in a beautiful way since its launch and the team now includes around 20 volunteers delivering two healthy meals (including a dessert in the evening!) to up to 100 people every single day. The volunteers include everyone from bank managers and students to pre COVID-19 competitors, along with three other local restaurants including The Auction House, Boars Head and The Woolpack Inn joining the cause too.

Thanks to the generous donations from other businesses in the area including Morrisons and Heron, as well as individual donations, Paul has also been able to provide a rescue package with the meals including items like bread, fruit, milk and toiletries. By harnessing the power of word of mouth and social media, no money has passed hands since The Neighbour’s Kitchen launched and Paul intends it to stay that way.

Paul is in no denial about the financial pressure he is under but he says: "by having the flexibility in payments by working with Liberis, I have been reminded of the power of community in times of need and that being there for each other is what really counts.” 

We hope Paul’s story made you smile and if you would like to find out more The Neighbour’s Kitchen, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/neighbourskitchen. We wish Paul and his team all the best. 

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