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“We’ll come out of this even stronger”

26 Mar 2020

How our Food on Campus teams turned our closure into a boost for a local food bank and our homeless community

L-R Adam Barlow, Mark Connors, Andrew Bowie, Jonathan Minshull

When our University closed down all but essential services, our Food on Campus team moved quickly and decisively to help a local foodbank and the homeless community during these uniquely difficult times.

That evening and the following day, a group of volunteers cleaned and sanitised the team’s vans and fridges and shared the leftover food between our Halls of Residences catering team, who were still working to look after our students, and the foodbank, while the sandwiches were taken to a homeless charity.

The close-knit team already deliver food on a daily basis to Fareshare, in Openshaw, and refuges in Fallowfield and Plymouth Grove, so they were happy to “knock on the door” as always.

“We’re a strong team anyway – we’ll come out of this even stronger,” explains Jonathan Minshull, General Manager of Hospitality Services.

“The whole team rallied round with the first priority ensuring that all kitchen and operational areas were cleaned and made safe.

“The food collection took a full day across all the areas. The food was sorted and distributed into piles ready for allocation.

“The Catered Residences team came over to reallocate their share. They have a duty of care to ensure our large number of international students, who are struggling to travel, are fed.

“The remainder of the food – milk, bread, potatoes, fruit and vegetables – was then delivered to FareShare.

“All the sandwiches were collected by Janice Stephenson, a Residences chef who has direct contact with homeless charities in Manchester, and these were distributed on the day of collection.

“Everyone was extremely grateful for the delivery and we were pleased that we could help them and ensure that no food went to waste. It was a great team effort from the Retail, Hospitality and Residences teams.”

Jonathan’s team are all connected on a What’s App group through which they talk daily and check in on each other: “I believe the team will become much stronger together during this period of uncertainty.

“We have to stay hopeful – we don’t know what we will be returning to. This pandemic will have an impact on the University and on hospitality services globally, but we’ll be here to support others on campus.

“In the meantime I’d say, make sure you have a daily routine that keeps you focused and gives you a sense of achievement at the end of the day but more importantly keep safe!”

We're sharing uplifting stories from all our colleagues, who are living our University's values during these difficult times. If you have an uplifting story to share, please get in touch at: