Staff at Cumberland Lodge, in Windsor Great Park, have teamed up with the Crown Estate to deliver ready-made meals for more than 200 elderly and vulnerable people living in the Great Park and its immediate surroundings, every Thursday, as part of their response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The first food deliveries from the Lodge were made on Thursday 26 March 2020, and the second distribution took place on Thursday 2 April. The charity’s long-standing Head Chef, Robert Szewczyk, who lives in the Great Park, has been co-ordinating the project with Sous-Chef Ross Brooks, who also lives on site.
The chefs have been busy preparing and freezing 900 meals each week, ready to be distributed from a series of food stations set up in the grounds of Cumberland Lodge, along with a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, bread and butter, and venison sausages.
The costs of the food have been met by the Crown Estate.
The parcels are packed in the grounds of Cumberland Lodge, before being collected by Crown Estate staff and delivered directly to people’s doorsteps. The whole operation is co-ordinated to ensure that everyone involved follows the Government’s advice on social distancing.
The charity’s Chief Executive, Canon Dr Edmund Newell, said, ‘There are many people living in and around in Windsor Great Park who are isolated and vulnerable, and, as a charity that exists to contribute to the betterment of society, we are pleased to be able to work in partnership with our friends and colleagues at the Crown Estate to provide practical help at this time.
‘We have a reputation for great food, and our chefs, who would normally be cooking for hundreds of guests, have been working hard to ensure that our neighbours have healthy, ready-made meals to enjoy.
‘We hope to continue providing this service for as long as it is needed, whilst we are able to do so, and we have had a lot of really positive feedback from the households we are supporting.’
Cumberland Lodge is a charity founded in the aftermath of the Second World War to tackle social division by convening conversations between people of all ages and backgrounds.
Ordinarily, this stunning 17th-century, former royal residence is full of guests from all over the UK, and around the world – many of whom come as part of event bookings such as conferences, away-days, corporate meetings and training courses, which all help to support the charity’s own programme of cross-sector conferences, panel discussions, webinars and study retreats.
In the current circumstances, all gatherings at Cumberland Lodge have been postponed, and many of the household and administrative staff are on paid leave or working from home whilst delivering the charity’s programme of events and discussions online. However, bookings are still being taken for events later in 2020 and into 2021 and 2022, and all enquiries are welcome.