Community group delivers Christmas hampers to families in Shoreham, Southwick and Fishersgate with help from Focus Group

A community group set up for mutual aid during the pandemic has continued its support for people in Shoreham, Southwick and Fishersgate over Christmas by delivering hampers to families in need.

The Gateway Hub, based in Gardener Road, Fishersgate, has been supported by Focus Group since the first national lockdown and it was thanks to the IT firm’s vital assistance in December, with meals and donations of family food essentials, that Christmas lunch could be delivered to many families in the community.

With the in-house canteen at the Shoreham office closed once again due to Covid-19, the firm decided to keep the catering team busy and fire up the ovens to feed the community instead.

Chris Goodman, joint managing director, said: “During the first lockdown, it was our pleasure to deliver freshly-cooked meals to the elderly in our community and staff at Worthing Hospital.

Christmas hampers were packed by Focus Group and distributed by the Gateway Hub to families in Shoreham, Southwick and Fishersgate

“Rather than have the kitchen at Focus House sit idle in Lockdown 2.0, we redoubled our efforts to help families having a hard time.

“We initially started working with the Gateway Hub back in the summer, providing funds to help buy school uniform for children in Shoreham, as well as supplies for their summer lunch club, set up to keep the kids well fed for six weeks.

“We became aware that many families had been negatively impacted by the pandemic with regards to employment and so on, so it was natural that we wanted to do whatever we could via the Heat or Eat project, focused on helping those who were possibly having to make the difficult choice of putting food on their table or heating their homes this winter.”

Resident chef Stuart McGarvie produced chicken and coconut curries, beef and vegetable lasagnes, traditional sausages and mash, meatballs and hotpots to hand out.

Natalie Croxon, from Gateway Hub, said: “Since March, our community-led group has grown and flourished. Initially a mutual aid network set up to support one another in Shoreham, Southwick and Fishersgate in lockdown, the Gateway Hub has evolved to become a fully-established charity.

“Our volunteer-run foodbank delivers groceries, essential household items, children’s clothes and much more. In the school holidays, we launched our summer lunch club, providing children with lunches for six weeks. This was a service we could not have delivered without the generous support of Focus Group.”

Over Christmas, community hampers were packed by Focus Group and distributed by the hub, giving families goodies such as mince pies, hot chocolate, fresh juices, tinned sweets, Christmas pudding, cranberry sauce, gravy and stuffing mixes.

Focus also supported the hub’s Hallowe’en lunch club, to ensure children entitled to free school meals did not miss out during the school holiday, and organised a large online delivery to replenish the shelves at Shoreham Foodbank.

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