Leisure trust dishes up festive treat

ACTIVE Tameside delivered on its pledge to bring festive cheer to families by cooking up and distributing 750 meals in the run up to Christmas.

The charitable trust, which runs community leisure centres and community services on behalf of Tameside Council, began rolling out The Great Christmas Takeaway giveaway on Monday, December 21.

A host of Active Tameside volunteers, decked out in festive jumpers, made 75 stops to homes around the borough to deliver meals along with gift sets and selection box surprises for youngsters.

Active Tameside Great Christmas Takeaway volunteers Matt Davies and Martin Neild out delivering the meals

The operation involved two members of staff from one of the trust’s social enterprise community cafes whipping up 250 meals a day, over three days, along with 15 packers, drivers and escorts delivering the meals over three hours each night from December 21-23 and all while observing strict hygiene measures and social distancing in line with Government guidelines.

Tameside households were invited to sign up for The Great Christmas Takeaway and given a selection of three meals to choose from, all of which have been landing on their doorsteps throughout the week, ready for them to warm up.

Many Active Tameside staff members and volunteers have spent weeks planning and preparing for The Great Christmas Takeaway, pulling together across the trust.

The initiative was backed by charitable food distributors FareShare along with the Co-op Food Store on Fir Tree Lane, Dukinfield, and Denton North East ward councillor Denise Ward who donated children’s gifts.

And helpers from the trust’s Everybody Can programme, a service which works with vulnerable children and adults, giving them access to activities and opportunities to help them reach their potential, harvested the veg they had been growing on local allotments.

They proudly provided onions, carrots, turnips, cabbage, peppers and salad for The Great Takeaway meals.

Active Tameside Great Christmas Takeaway volunteers Mathew Moores and Lee Wood

The initiative was designed to spread some cheer following what has undoubtably been a very difficult year for many people.

Dan Higgins, the Everybody Can manager, paid tribute to the Active Tameside volunteers and all those who generously donated to help make this a truly special act of festive community kindness.

“When we launched The Great Christmas Takeaway, inviting people to sign up, the response was overwhelming,” he said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have donated, in any capacity, which has enabled us to deliver this initiative. Likewise, to thank those who signed up to take part in receiving meals.

“As a charitable trust, Active Tameside wanted to use its platform as a community asset to support the Tameside community when people need it most.

“It’s been fantastic to be part of something so positive and something which demonstrates how people really are committed to looking out for others at this very difficult time.

“It’s created so many positive outcomes as not only has this initiative allowed us to provide up to 750 free meals for families, it also showcased the amazing results of our Everybody Can allotments which were a much welcome contribution to the delicious meals which our community café volunteers lovingly prepared.

“Planted, cared for, grown and picked by the vulnerable groups within our Everybody Can service, it’s helped to develop valuable life skills too.

“It also shows the great impact that our social enterprise community cafes can have on the local community.”

Active Tameside Great Christmas Takeaway volunteers Caroline Barker, Laurelle Wilde, Sharon Walls and Shaun Higgins preparing the meals
Shaun Higgins and Caroline Barker preparing meals

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