Supporting local fishing communities through the COVID-19 pandemic

Seafood Cornwall Training Ltd has launched an initiative to provide free meals to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the the fishing village of Newlyn, Cornwall. The project was awarded a grant of £3,400 from Seafarers UK, and has been supported by Ben Tunicliffe, a Michelin star chef and owner of the local Tolcarne Inn.

The healthy and ready-to-eat meals include locally sourced fish with vegetarian options provided. The meals can be collected from the Inn by the recipients, and for those unable to collect the food, a team of volunteers can deliver to their door.

Through the provision of fish-based meals, the project has been able to successfully support the local fish market as well as a cross section of people in the community. Working with the Newlyn Fishermen’s Mission Superintendent, local schools, churches and community groups, Seafood Cornwall Training Ltd identified those who would most benefit from free meals, including elderly residents, those who suffered from domestic violence, those who struggle with their mental and physical health, children who are missing out on free school meals during school closures, retired and injured fishermen, as well as active fishermen who have been unable to work due to COVID-19.

The initiative was received with great appreciation from the local community and has provided essential support to those who would otherwise not qualify for assistance from any other agency, such as a 14-year-old boy who has been losing weight due to anxiety brought on by the lockdown, and the free meals have gone a long way to helping him to cope with that.

The impact of the project in alleviating the hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic also can be seen from what some of the beneficiaries have said:

‘We are so grateful for all that you have done for us. It has been such a massive help especially after not being able to work. I can’t thank you enough.’

‘My husband was a merchant seaman for 33 years and he died nine years ago so I have no-one to help me.  Thank you all so much.’

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