By Grahame Anderson

Life as we once knew it changed for all of us with the advent of the coronavirus crisis. There’s little doubt however, fighting the virus through lock-down has brought out the best in many people determined to do their bit.

The North East is renown for its warmth and generosity generally, so it’s no surprise to see many acts of kindness taking place across the region. And it was wonderful to see local residents joining fire-fighters outside the East Cleveland Hospital in Brotton.

They were joined by emergency workers from Cleveland Fire Brigade who flashed the blue lights on their engines during the fifth clap for carers night, as hospital staff looked on from the hospital’s balcony wearing face masks.

Over in Norton local takeaway owners Gurjit Singh Sidhu, known to customers as Gary, and wife Satveer Kaur, showed their appreciation and support on April 23rd for on-duty North East Ambulance service staff. Free fish and chips were offered at the Silver Cod with one loyal customer and friend saying: “It’s a treat to say thank you, other NHS workers are getting food delivered but ambulance workers are sometimes overlooked.” They were certainly gratefully received.

With heart-warming food in mind on Wearside the Bombay Barn in Washington has kept on all staff at full pay and hours right through the crisis so they can help the community. What’s more, the currently closed Indian restaurant has been delivering free hot meals on request to the elderly and key workers.

Arif Sheikh, 42, said: “It was important for us to do our bit to support the community, helping to ensure that vulnerable people in Washington get the food they need during this crisis.”

On top of this Arif and his staff have also been running a food bank and food donation point for vulnerable people in the front of the restaurant.

Back in Sunderland popular eatery Victors, has been making and delivering free meals including pizza and pasta dishes to NHS staff, carers and emergency services. The idea was to say thanks for their selfless efforts by providing food easily eaten during breaks in work whenever they may be.

General manager Jenny Smith explained “We bought all the ingredients and then four of our chefs came in to make the food. Bar staff also came in to help deliver the food.
“We donated to Sunderland Royal and Monkwearmouth Hospitals as well as care homes, the North East Ambulance Service, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Stagecoach.”

The idea came from director Keith Donkin who helped put everything together with a team of four chefs and eight drivers.

In Whitley Bay, the big hearted owner of a speciality Indian café, deli and store, Sangeeta Chopra pictured above, has been supplying healthy Indian meals to key staff at Cramlington NSECH hospital. In normal times, Namaste specialises in home-made Punjabi cuisine including a range of authentic Indian spices and kitchenware. When the lock-down kicked in, she quickly adapted her premises to provide special takeaways.

“I wanted to help the NHS somehow and the festival of Durga Ashtami is a very important time in the Hindu calendar,” she said.

“I thought that would be a good time to supply NHS front line workers with healthy food to keep them nourished during their busy shifts.”

Meanwhile Newcastle Central Mosque has teamed up with the One Ummah Charity, offering vital support and assistance to the elderly in terms of delivering food and essential medical supplies.

Their clear message is: “Geordies You are not alone in the fight against the Coronavirus, with the Newcastle COVID-19 Support team.”

If you are elderly or vulnerable in isolation anywhere in Newcastle Upon Tyne we can deliver you essential food supplies & medicine directly to your home.
Simply contact our COVID-19 support line on 07426313662 to arrange for delivery of your desired items.

Wherever you look it seems the love is being shared largely through food as we continue our #Caremongering campaign.