Closed record shop starts soup deliveries to vulnerable people and NHS heroes in Sheffield
A record shop and café bar that has had to close its doors until further notice because of the Covid-19 outbreak is supporting those in need during the crisis - by delivering free homemade soup.
Cole's Corner opened late last year on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield, selling music on vinyl, food, coffee and canned beers. The Government's strict rules on social distancing mean the place is shut for the foreseeable future, so owner Nicole Jewitt has come up with a plan to serve meals from its kitchen in a new way.
She is making soups daily and offering them on a free, pay-as-you-feel or 'pay it forward' basis - delivery is at no cost within a mile, while customers further afield are asked to make a donation.
Anti-coronavirus directives are observed at all times and meals are sent ready to reheat in microwaveable, compostable tubs; the risk of passing the disease on through food is thought to be extremely low.
"For as long as we can keep it going we will,” said Nicole. "It's not going to pay the bills, but it will at least keep paying for more soups.”
Cole's Corner - a pun on Nicole's name, as well as a reference to the city centre meeting spot that itself inspired the title of an album by local singer-songwriter Richard Hawley - gets its vegetables from Sheffield Organic Growers, meaning there is no problem with supply.
Varieties of soup on the menu in the past few days include White Delight - containing creamy butter beans and celeriac - as well as Indian spiced mixed beans with root vegetables and classics like leek and potato.
"We've had lots of people putting money in the kitty," said Nicole. "Somebody even put £50 through my letterbox. In general people have been really generous."
She added: "We did really well a couple of days ago, so we were able to get 40 tubs down to the emergency ward at the Northern General. When we've got a bit of excess we'll pick a different ward and see whether they will accept it. We're trying to make new soups every two days and we make two types each time. There's a lot of vulnerable adults who would normally have carers that haven't got them at this time, so we're trying to send them at least two soups every two days so they've got a simple, hot meal to have."
Nicole is keen to learn of anyone who might be struggling with the effects of the crisis, and she has approached the catering retailer Nisbets to investigate whether containers can be sourced for free.
"What we've found is a lot of people who do need help don't want to ask for it. There's a few regulars now."
She believes Cole's Corner is eligible for the recently-announced £10,000 emergency grant for small businesses, and plans to reopen the café to the public as soon as restrictions are lifted, but stressed: "I'd be amazed if we get back open in time for Christmas. But my landlord is also very charitable."
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