Dollar Academy shares facilities to help support those most vulnerable in the community

Due to the current pandemic, Lunch Club at Home by The Playpen Cafe is using Dollar Academy’s kitchen facilities to prepare food for those who are the most vulnerable in Dollar and Muckhart.

Lunch Club at Home is an initiative linked to ‘The Playpen Café’, a social enterprise that supports children aged 0-5 and their families. At the outset of the pandemic, Playpen were supported by Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface to develop Lunch Club at Home, a food project that delivers a high-quality café service to elderly members of the community who are currently shielding from Covid-19.

Playpen then partnered with the Dollar Community Development Trust and designed a hot food and bakes menu for residents in Dollar and Muckhart, with the first food packages being delivered on 5 June.

Actively supporting the initiative, Dollar Academy’s kitchen facilities are now being used as a space for Lunch Club volunteers to prepare fresh food to be delivered to the elderly. Around 207 food packages have been delivered to residents in both Dollar and Muckhart so far. The most recent 138 packages were cooked on-site at Dollar Academy before being picked up by volunteers. They are currently operating with one member of staff and up to seven volunteers a on a cooking day, which are Mondays and Wednesdays. Food packages are delivered on Tuesdays and Fridays, in collaboration with the Dollar Community Development Trust, as part of their wider Stay Connected programme.

The Playpen Café’s CEO Alexandra Ostroumoff-Crouche said: “We wanted to use our kitchen and catering skills to deliver something for the local community during these unprecedented times, but demand has been so great that we quickly outgrew our domestic kitchen. We were thrilled when Dollar Academy offered us use of their large catering kitchen. It has made such a big difference to the project, allowing us to reach many more people and take on a small army of local volunteers to help out. We are so very grateful for this opportunity and for the ongoing support of the Academy’s Catering Manager Paul O’Donnell”.

The initiative is funded by Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface, Clackmannanshire Council, Dollar Community Development Trust, The Wellbeing Fund, Stephen’s Foundation and Fareshare, with support from Brian Devlins Butchers in Dollar.

Lunch Club at Home is now planning on preparing around 150 food parcels a week. The success of the initiative has also secured £2000 of additional government funding, which means the project will extend to the wider Clackmannanshire area and also into a couple of rural villages in Perth.

Dollar continues to support the project into the months ahead.