A CATERING service is supplying thousands of "life-saver" meals to NHS workers after a call for help amid the third wave of the pandemic.

The Ethicurean Guild normally cooks food for pubs in the city, including the Foundry, the Stoneham and the Southern Belle.

During the first lockdown, the catering service provided more than 100,000 meals for the city's homeless, who were placed in hotels and emergency accommodation, as well as 10,000 meals for food banks and 15,000 meals for frontline NHS workers.

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Chef Edward Heller, who runs The Ethicurean Guild, said earlier this year he received "dozens of requests" within 48 hours for meals to feed staff working on frontline Covid-19 wards at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

The Argus: Edward HellerEdward Heller

He quickly set up a JustGiving page to raise cash for supplies and has recruited volunteers across the city to support his team of chefs with food donations and deliveries.

Edward said: "We had wards reach out to us a few weeks back who said it's worse than last time.

"They are working incredibly long days and often not managing to cook or eat proper meals.

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"We put a crowdfunding campaign up and said if people can give us some money, we will make a meal and deliver it.

"We're sending meals to A and E staff, intensive care units and several wards.

"Paramedics are sometimes waiting up to four hours or more to discharge patients.

The Argus:

"We've had nurses telling us it's the first food they've eaten in 24 hours."

Edward has received many messages of gratitude from healthcare workers who describe his meal service as "a life-saver" and morale boost for staff.

One NHS worker wrote on the catering company's Facebook page: "Our intensive care is the busiest we have ever seen it and we are totally exhausted.

"Not having to worry about food during a 12.5 hour shift makes a massive difference."

Edward's crowdfunding campaign has already raised just under £10,000, but he aims to raise £20,000 to continue sending meals and fresh fruit to staff until the end of next month.

Funds are used to purchase ingredients and packaging, and any money left over after the lockdown is eased will be donated to charities and food poverty projects around the city.

Volunteers are helping to supply food and pitching in with deliveries, while Brighton estate agent Paul Bott & Co has offered their cars to be used to help transport meals.

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Edward said: "We've managed to keep costs down and we work with donated food as well - £2 will buy a nurse a pizza or a curry.

"The NHS has asked us if we're able to provide food until the end of March.

"It's a big task but it fits in with everything else we are doing as we're feeding the homeless in emergency accommodation.

"My chefs cook every day, but the real story is all the amazing volunteers we have, all over the city."

The Ethicurean Guild also runs a training scheme to help vulnerable people in Brighton improve their job prospects.

Edward added: "We had met some homeless people who had got into temporary accommodation who were not getting any opportunities.

"Our team of chefs train former rough sleepers to help get them greater job prospects."

To donate to Edward's crowdfunding campaign, visit his JustGiving page.