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US News Coronavirus: Kind-hearted cafe owner makes 3,500 meals for NHS workers

14:46  01 april  2020
14:46  01 april  2020 Source:   uk.news.yahoo.com

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a couple of people posing for the camera: The Barn Kitchen has produced more than 3,500 meals for NHS staff. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen) The Barn Kitchen has produced more than 3,500 meals for NHS staff. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen)

A kind-hearted cafe owner has provided more than 3,500 meals to local NHS workers after its owner embarked on a mission to feed nurses, doctors, paramedics and other vital staff at nearly hospitals every day.

The Barn Kitchen in Binley Woods, Coventry, usually operates as a normal cafe as well as offering themed children’s parties throughout the year. 

Following the coronavirus outbreak owner Kelly Iles switched to offering a contactless drive-through service for food and drink and other essentials. 

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a group of people standing in front of a building: Kelly Iles at The Barn Kitchen in Binley Woods, near Coventry, has been cooking meals and snacks for NHS doctors, nurses and other workers in the area. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK Kelly Iles at The Barn Kitchen in Binley Woods, near Coventry, has been cooking meals and snacks for NHS doctors, nurses and other workers in the area. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen)

But after hearing about the long hours NHS staff were working with few breaks and no chance to eat Kelly, 44, wanted to do more to help and set herself the task of feeding as many of them as she can. 

“I had this mission to cook everything I had in the restaurant for people in the NHS,” said Mrs Iles, whose stepmother, cousin and five aunties are all nurses. With so many nurses in my family I knew their shifts were longer than usual and on top of that there was no food for them. They’re working 12, 13, 14-hour shifts and not eating.”

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The mum-of-three introduced a system where people can pre-pay £4.95 for a meal for a member of NHS staff who can then pick them up from The Barn Kitchen’s contactless drive-through.

Using their 3m x 3m kitchen and just a two-ring hob, Iles and a small team of volunteers including her family have been whipping up meals including stews, pasta bakes and macaroni cheese.

They’re also producing cold snacks from filled ciabatta rolls to homemade soup and bread, muffins, cream teas, pastries and other ‘grab-and-go’ snacks like salad pots and rice pudding pots that nurses and doctors can eat during their busy shifts.

a person eating a donut: The Barn Kitchen is cooking food including hot meals, sandwiches, cakes, and other 'grab-and-go' snacks that NHS staff can eat during long shifts. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK The Barn Kitchen is cooking food including hot meals, sandwiches, cakes, and other 'grab-and-go' snacks that NHS staff can eat during long shifts. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen) Emily Harrington et al. sitting at a table posing for the camera: Grateful staff have been sending Kelly pictures as a thank you for the food she has donated. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK Grateful staff have been sending Kelly pictures as a thank you for the food she has donated. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen)

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The food is being delivered to local hospitals including Warwick Hospital, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire in Coventry and George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, as well as local NHS Trusts to feed district nurses and ambulance stations to feed paramedics.

Local bakers and suppliers have also joined in the mission, donating specially-made cupcakes, cakes as well as bread, while national company Brakes donated eco-friendly packaging to save Mrs Iles buying it. Members of the public have even donated hobs so they can cook more food, and one local company has lent them a van to deliver food to hospitals. 

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“The fact we’re doing cold food as well as hot meals and donations of things like packaging mean that people’s £4.95 is actually feeding more than one NHS worker - it’s more like three or four,” she said. 

“We’ve now provided 3,500 meals since we started last Monday. It started with 300 on the first day and has grown since then - we can’t believe it. 

“We’ve fed nurses, doctors, porters, cleaners, paramedics and have had some beautiful pictures from them thanking us.”

a group of people performing on a counter: The Barn Kitchen has been delivering the food to hospitals in Warwick, Coventry and Nuneaton. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK The Barn Kitchen has been delivering the food to hospitals in Warwick, Coventry and Nuneaton. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen) a man standing in front of a building: Paramedics have been collecting snacks through The Barn Kitchen's contactless drive-through system. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK Paramedics have been collecting snacks through The Barn Kitchen's contactless drive-through system. (Picture: The Barn Kitchen)

It’s been all hands on deck for Iles, with husband Paul, 46, and their three children aged 20, 18 and 11 all helping.

“We were due to celebrate the first anniversary of The Barn Kitchen on April 8,” she said. “We put all our savings into this business.” When restaurants, bars and cafes were ordered to close, Iles managed to pay her rent up to June and paid her staff, including two weeks holiday pay, but admits she “cried all day”.

But she decided to open as a pop-up shop for local residents who needed supplies, as well as the drive-through collection service, but said when she heard from a local nurse and her own family about the gruelling shifts with no food, she decided she had to help. 

“I had all this food that needed using, so I decided to cook it for our NHS workers. And then once that ran out I went and bought more. I think we spent about £2,000 of our own money on food but it wasn’t sustainable so that’s when I thought people might like to buy a member of NHS staff a hot meal. It’s just grown since then and the support we’ve had has been amazing. 

“I’m out first thing in the mornings getting what I can from Bookers and making as much as we can. We’re keeping it to the same team of 10 volunteers to minimise any contact and anyone involved.

“I just love doing it, it’s keeping me going and keeping me busy. It’s honestly the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I go to sleep with joy in my belly to know we have done something good and that it has helped people who are helping so many other people.”

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading - here is what you can and can't do. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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