Food and Drink

Food for the Soul: Hospitality Businesses Respond to the Crisis

Although shutters may remain down, restaurants and venues across the North have been busy doing what they can to support during this challenging time. Below is just a snapshot of some of the incredible initiatives that have grown and developed out of hardship and a gentle reminder to help in whatever way you can.


In Manchester, Open Kitchen MCR has been working closely with Manchester City Council’s Food Response team to ensure the city’s most vulnerable are well fed throughout the crisis.

Now delivering an incredible 2,000 meals a day and with no plans to slow down, the campaign would not be possible without the generosity of those in the leisure and hospitality industry donating their time, equipment,and unneeded stock to the project.

Chefs from renowned restaurants, including Hispi Bistro and Hawksmoor Steakhouse are in the kitchen with volunteer drivers making around 150 drop offs a day each.

In April, Thomas Cook Airlines and Lineage Logistics donated 1.1 million frozen airline meals that would have otherwise gone to waste due to grounded flights.

To learn more about the project and how to donate, visit @OpenKitchenMCR on Twitter


Independent restaurants across Chester have come together to use their empty kitchens to feed the city’s homeless community throughout the crisis.

Working in partnership with Soul Kitchen Chester, a voluntary organisation that provides ongoing support for Chester’s homeless community, the project is committed to ensuring no one will go without a daily meal for the duration of lockdown.

Temporarily closed restaurants including Sticky Walnut, Chef’s Table, Joseph Benjamin, The Suburbs and Death by Tacos are all supporting the initiative; with local businesses such as Just Footprints Chester and Aubrey Allen’s donating produce.

The project is now feeding 150 vulnerable people every day of the week.

If you would like to offer your support to Soul Kitchen Chester, drop them a message on their Facebook page.


When Blackpool Tower was forced to close for the first time in its 125-year history, Merlin Entertainments partnered with Blackpool Food Bank to help ‘those in need’ in the resort.

The donation point within the landmark is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 9am at 3pm and is staffed by volunteers, including Merlin staff currently on furlough leave.  

At the start of lockdown, 300 parcels were handed out by Blackpool Food Bank. Donations of non-perishable goods and personal hygiene products can be dropped off at the promenade entrance.


The Spread Eagle was reported to the police for breaking lockdown. In reality, the pub has been transformed into a community market for local residents.

Set up with the help of Bolton Council and the local police, the market stocks fresh produce and meals to order. The pub is also offering home deliveries with the aim of getting packages to customers within days.

The team are also taking part in a 12-hour bike ride to raise money for their local support group.

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