East Midlands Railway donate vital funds to community café

Thursday, 7 May 2020

East Midlands Railway (EMR) has donated crucial funds and food to a community café in Newark, which is helping vulnerable people cope during the Covid-19 pandemic.

EMR has provided Carriages Community Café at Newark Castle station with £2,500 and more than 50 meals, including food from its supplier Rail Gourmet, to support their efforts.

The money will be used to buy a much-needed new oven – allowing the café to produce more than 200 meals each week.

Carriages has operated a Community Cafe at Newark Castle station for nearly three years. During this time, it has been providing a three-course meal for £3 after the regular cafe closed at 5:30pm, every other week.

It has also operated a successful "pay it forward" scheme meaning people can offer to pay for someone else's meal, who could otherwise go hungry.

Given the unprecedented circumstances, owner Wendy Baird decided to run the cafe as a takeaway every Wednesday to support the vulnerable during these difficult times. The café provides “a meal in a bag” to be collected and taken home to eat for those that can, or delivered by the fire service to those who are isolating.

The food includes a cooked meal, a pudding and other food that can be used at home, when available.

Wendy Baird thanked EMR for the donation, she said: “Without donations such as this, we simply could not afford to keep this project going and help support some of the most vulnerable people in this area. More people than ever need this service and we really appreciate any donation to ensure that we can carry on for as long as possible. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Caring communities are strong communities.”

Kirsty Derry, HR Director of East Midlands Railway, said: “In these uncertain times, projects such as the one run by Wendy are becoming increasingly important to the communities we serve. We are proud to support her work and hope that our donation can make an important impact in helping those people who might be struggling in these difficult times.”