Tameside Leisure Trust Bring Community Together to Dish Up Festive Spirit for Local Families

Published on: December 22nd 2020

Active Tameside this week delivered on its pledge to bring festive cheer to local 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 Metropolitan Borough Council, began rolling out The Great Christmas Takeaway giveaway last night (21 st December).

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.

The incredible Christmas 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 21 st to 23 rd December – 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’ve been growing on local allotments.

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

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,” said Dan.

“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.

“On behalf of all of us at Active Tameside I would like to wish everybody a very merry Christmas and a much better new year.”