When the Lock-Down was first announced, the Riverside Hotel stayed open for Essential Guests.

Shirley Gorman (Chef De Partie) and myself (Mark Ballantine – GM) were having a chat and thinking about our Sunday Roasts and all the local support we receive before the Lock-Down.

We starting thinking about all the locals that were high risk and just put into Lock-Down. A few ideas were bounced about to see what we could do for our locals that needed to cocoon. Shirley thought it would be great to continue a Sunday Roast for them as they would have no contact with their family or anyone during the Lock-Down. We came up with an idea that the hotel would donate the food and Shirley would donate her time to prep, cook & package the dinners.

We had two minor problems being how do we create a list of those most in need and how to deliver it safely with consideration to Health & Safety guidelines for both food service and Covid-19.

We knew people’s lives could be at stake so it had to be 100% reliable so we called the Garda. Our local Garda Community Officer, Mark Connor, had a great knowledge of his area and organised the list of cocooning people, with help from Tina Butler from the Abbeyquarter Community Centre.

He also offered to organise the delivery of it with a small crew of our local Gardas. We started this on the first Sunday of the Lock-Down, 22 March and continued it up till the Lock-Down was lifted on the 8 June.

During this time we delivered 50 meals every Sunday for 12 weeks to our needy cocooning locals for free!