Posted: April 17th 2020
by Emma Bushell, Marketing
After the temporary closure of The Victoria Inn due to the COVID-19 crisis, the team, Holkham’s Go Help champions and a raft of volunteers from across the Holkham estate and surrounding area started to think about how they could help the most vulnerable members of the local community. What began as an initiative to feed those most in need, quickly developed into an endeavour to support and provide freshly prepared meals for the staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.
Since its launch on 30th March, the initiative - Helping Hands for Hungry Heroes - has provided an average of 600 delicious meals each week to NHS heroes and those in need. The Victoria Inn has kept its kitchen open during the crisis to allow the team to prepare meals on-site, which they then deliver personally, of course adhering to all social distancing guidance.
The project is kept going thanks to the collaboration and support from generous local suppliers, namely Arthur Howell Butchers, Barsby Produce, Fen Farms Dairy, H V Graves (Briston) Limited and Sole Trader (Billingsgate Market). With the produce donated, as well as potatoes and game from the estate, the team of chefs and volunteers have been producing a selection of soups, sausage rolls, scotch eggs and quiches for staff to eat on shift. Fresh and healthy frozen meals have also been prepared for NHS staff to take home, including cottage pies, fish pies, vegetarian & beef lasagnes and stews.
The Victoria Inn’s managing director, Ben Hunter Watts, explains, “I am thrilled to be part of something so positive during this difficult time. The energy and passion of the team here at The Victoria Inn and the support of our suppliers is remarkable, as is the amazing work of the NHS staff we are feeding.”
North Norfolk butcher Arthur Howell says, “I am delighted to support this fantastic initiative by Holkham. All the produce I will be supplying free of charge to Holkham comes from supplies within a 30-mile radius of the estate as I try and source all my meat from the north Norfolk locality. It’s produce of the very highest quality and nothing less than the hard working members of our fantastic NHS deserve in these trying times.”
Sole Trader (Billingsgate Market) adds, “It is a privilege to supply and support the Victoria at Holkham at these testing times in helping to feed our NHS heroes at the Queen Elizabeth.”
The Holkham Hall Courtyard Café has also donated all perishable goods and food products to the hospital to provide snacks and sustenance to NHS workers. In addition, the Go Help scheme has seen a large number of volunteers come forward from across the local area of Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea to take part in daily ring arounds to local vulnerable people who are currently self-isolating to help pick up groceries or prescriptions and try to negate feelings of loneliness that isolation can bring.
Helping Hands for Hungry Heroes is proof of what good can come from collaboration and a passion to do good, even when the going is tough.