VOLUNTEERS from a Derbyshire company swapped their lab coats and clipboards for aprons and serving spoons when they cooked up lunches for the community.
Staff from Lubrizol, in Hazelwood, took part in the YMCA Derbyshire Community Meal, which, in collaboration with local mental health charity Head High, invites local businesses to provide a nourishing meal for people who might be feeling isolated.
More than 100 people attended the event at the YMCA, in London Road, which is hosted by a different business on the last Friday of every month and is aimed at combatting loneliness, a major cause of mental health problems amongst adults.
The company decided to get involved after a two-year collaboration with the mental health charity Derbyshire Mind, which works to supports local people through a series of services.
Lubrizol’s Lydia Lindsay was one of the six members of the company’s charities and communities committee to take part in the meal.
She said: “When we heard about the concept of the community meal we thought it was a way we could support the YMCA in a practical way and six of us signed up to take part.
“We had some guidance about quantities, as obviously none of us has ever cooked for such large numbers before, and three of us worked in the kitchen and three of us served.
“We actually found that it was a good team bonding exercise and we have recommended that other departments at Lubrizol consider getting involved in the future, because you have to work together.
“We had some lovely conversations with some of the people who attended. It attracted a real mixture of people, and a lot of them hadn’t heard of Lubrizol, so it was lovely to chat with them and hopefully make a small difference to their day.”
The volunteers had support from Lubrizol’s inhouse restaurant team Wilson Vale to help them serve up a main course of rich tomato farfalle pasta finished with a choice of continental cured meats or roasted mushrooms.
Each main course was served with garlic bread and a selection of delicious homemade cakes were available for dessert.
Fundraising and communications manager at YMCA Derbyshire, Sarah Crane, said: “Lubrizol were a star organisation because they really prepped in advance, bringing pre-prepared sauces with them and they had even trialled the menu with staff the week before.
“We genuinely feel that both the community and the businesses involved get an awful lot out of these partnerships.
“The conversations people have during the sharing of food can be really helpful to both sets of visitors and it was obvious that everyone was having a lot of fun and enjoying the meal.”
Anyone who wishes to attend the community meal is free to do so. The event takes place at 12.30pm on the last Friday of the month. If you would like more information, call 01332 579550.
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