MORE than 100 cooked meals a day are being delivered to NHS staff working through the coronavirus crisis after a small campaign took off dramatically.

Simon Livermore originally set up a group on Facebook ten days ago as a way to collect food and essentials for staff at Brighton General Hospital after supplies in supermarkets ran low.

But Simon was soon “swamped” with offers of support from residents and food businesses wanting to provide donations, as well as requests from NHS staff in the city.

The 44-year-old project manager from Cobden Drive in Hove said: “It’s been a whirlwind. My partner and I had heard the radio clip of that poor nurse who had finished her shift and couldn’t get any food at the supermarket.

“Initially I put a call out on Facebook to see if there was a food bank for NHS workers and it didn’t seem like there was, so I made a group and we started calling for donations of tinned beans and things like that, and it just very quickly grew from there.”

The Argus: Staff at the maternity ward at the RSCH with donations from Easy Tiger Indian Street FoodStaff at the maternity ward at the RSCH with donations from Easy Tiger Indian Street Food

Thanks to the help of food businesses across Brighton and Hove, Simon has been able to arrange for 150 cooked meals to be delivered to staff working in the Royal Sussex County Hospital critical care team, who are looking after patients with the coronavirus.

He said: “One of the doctors at the Royal Sussex got wind of what I was doing. Dr Medha Chillal is in isolation as she’s pregnant but she was trying to make sure staff could still get healthy meals as the internal canteens have been closed.

“We’ve got so many suppliers who are helping, we are now delivering 50 breakfasts, lunches and dinners to teams at the Royal Sussex.”

The Argus: Simon Livermore from Hove, who is coordinating the schemeSimon Livermore from Hove, who is coordinating the scheme

Simon also set up a crowdfunding campaign so that restaurants and cafes could increase the number of meals they could send.

He said: “I was getting messages from people like David from Cin Cin, who said that although they’re closed their kitchen is still open and they could make pasta dishes.

“Restaurants can only give so much for free but if we can cover costs they can do a lot more.”

The Flour Pot Bakery, Bagelman, Easy Tiger and the Curry Leaf Cafe are just some of the businesses who have supplied meals for staff at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, Brighton General Hospital and the Sussex Beacon, as well as departments at the Royal Sussex.

The Argus: NHS staff with donations from Curry Leaf CafeNHS staff with donations from Curry Leaf Cafe

Simon is also appealing to businesses to sponsor the meal donations for a day, and he will announce it on the Facebook page.

He said: “We’ve already got a few local companies who will sponsor the meals for a day, including the Fit Father Project, who donated £350.

“We have a great network and all the infrastructure in place with all these amazing people who have stepped in.

“I couldn’t have done it without my friend Petra Exton who is sorting the admin side and Graeme Collard who is doing all the collections and deliveries.

“The more funding we get the more we can expand and get more hot meals out to staff at hospitals in Sussex.”

To make a donation, visit the Brighton and Hove NHS Foodbank Facebook page, or their crowdfunding page.

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