Community Rail has been adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown in a variety of different ways. An inspirational example comes from Bobby Lock, community rail officer for the Solent Community Rail Partnership CIC and Lymington – Brokenhurst Community Rail Partnership, with their Food on the Move initiative, ensuring the most vulnerable on the Isle of Wight do not go hungry during the current crisis.
At the beginning of April 2020, stories emerged that a number of people on the island were struggling to cope financially and to put food on the table. Identifying that the partnerships could assist to alleviate this situation, Bobby swung into action with Ali Smith from the island’s Gaslight Café and Anne Abe from DanceVibez to create the Food on the Move initiative.
The Gaslight Café, aided by a loyal band of seven volunteers created a ‘railwaymans lunch’ – which consists of a 100% vegetable soup, ham, cheese, bread roll and a cake – to be distributed to identified individuals and families on the island. Volunteers, who have been practising social distancing measures at all times, have been delivering these across the Ryde – Shanklin rail corridor. Over 600 meals have been distributed across the island so far, with plans to maintain this during the current lockdown period.
The partnerships would like to thank CrossCountry and Southwestern Railway for allowing them to divert project funding to get the initiative up and running. The partnerships have also made a financial donation and further funding has been secured from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Foundation to ensure that those most in need do not go hungry.