Gussie's Kitchen was set up in April 2016 and the team, based in St Augustine's Church in Chesterfield, feeds on average 70 people each week. Fortem have been involved with Gussies since they began delivering work on behalf of Chesterfield Borough Council in 2017.
Fortem’s Chesterfield team have supported Gussies by volunteering after work serving meals, drinks and clearing up. The local community who attend can also purchase a bag of shopping for just £2.
In March, Gussie’s began a pantry bag scheme in conjunction with Fareshare. Individuals and families who were identified as vulnerable were able to access the three-month pilot scheme which provided a weekly shop for just £6 per week. Fortem’s local team supported this by packing and delivering the food to the individual’s addresses.
The scheme has been very successful and as a result it has been extended beyond the pilot. Gussies Kitchen were paying additional costs each week to meet the demand and, because of Fortem’s close working relationship alongside the local councillors, they donated the much-needed funds to keep the scheme running.
Marie Woodhouse, Customer Liaison Officer at Fortem in Chesterfield said, “We have tenants who are using this facility and we regularly receive messages to say what a huge difference this has made to them. We have seen the impact that COVID-19 has had on the local community and wanted to help.”
Councillor Jenny Flood sent in her personal thanks to the team, “When Marie told me last night of the amazing contribution to our Gussies Kitchen food bag project, I couldn’t believe it.
You have been and will always be a part of our community. The difference Your donation will make will buy a 100 households a weeks’ worth of food bags as well as meals (for the elderly and vulnerable) weekly until the end of August.
We have a very deprived area as you know, and are feeding around 150 households on a Tuesday and on a Friday we have 2 schemes running.
Several tenants in the flats, which you have transformed into homes they can be proud of, are now thriving on this scheme.
We cannot thank you enough and will keep you posted as to the progress that you have enabled by your generosity.”