The Festive Food project in Bury St Edmunds delivered over 250 meals and hampers this year to people who will spend Christmas alone or in financial hardship.

Not-for-profit social enterprise Abbeycroft, has been running the project since 2020 together with their partners – West Suffolk College, Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw and Bury St Edmunds Town Council and after appealing for referrals from the local community this year, they managed to deliver more meals to people who need the support.

The Festive Food project is part of a wider Abbeycroft initiative aimed at addressing inequalities and improving people’s lives, which runs throughout the year delivering meals, low-cost recipe cards, food boxes and outdoor family cooking sessions.

Frank Carn-Pryor, Abbeycroft’s Sports and Outdoor Activity Officer said:

“I’m always amazed at the offers of help we get each year from volunteers and businesses and I’d personally like to thank every one of them, as well as thank the Town Council for their continued support.”

“Working in partnership is the only way to make projects like this happen, and we’re proud to be a part of that.

Cllr Diane Hind, Chair of Bury St Edmunds Town Council said:

“It is a pleasure to work with partners to combine on such an essential initiative. It certainly wouldn’t be possible without the organisation and enthusiasm of Abbeycroft, the culinary skills and kitchens of the College, and the volunteers including Councillors who undertake preparation and delivery. We visit the recipients of the meals and have a little chat, and I like to think we deliver Christmas Cheer, as we may be the only people some of the residents will see over Christmas. It is an excellent project and I hope it is a collaboration that will continue.

Claire Waterson, Operations Manager at the Culinary Arts Academy (based at Edmunds restaurant in the ground of West Suffolk College said:

“We had a team of students and staff including Steve Aves, Rob Reynolds, and Stuart Ascott who have worked over three days to prepare and cook Christmas meals.

“We have supported this project for the last four years and this year, 250 meals have been made and they have been handed out to support the rurally isolated and families in need.

“This is the best part of my Christmas –it’s been a busy month but from our point of view – it doesn’t matter how tired you are or what you have going on, there is always someone out there who needs support – therefore it’s a pleasure to be involved.”

In addition to this festive appeal, West Suffolk College and the Culinary Arts Academy support similar schemes with Abbeycroft Leisure and the local community throughout the year.

Rachel Thomas, Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw said:

“Bury Rickshaw is really pleased to be involved in the Festive Project, talking to recipients on the phone and then delivering a lunch with a smile and a chat on the doorstep. We hope that some of the recipients will take the opportunity for a Rickshaw ride in 2024.”

[Images credit – Phil Morley Photography]

festive food 2023
festive food boxes
food prep at festive food 2023
Rickshaws delivering meals