North Derbyshire gastropub donating free meals for NHS staff at Chesterfield Royal Hospital

Staff at the Tickled Trout pub in Barlow are delivering meals to front line workers at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Chris Mapp, owner and chef of the pub, has organised the scheme, with help a network of food donators.

Staff at the pub cook and offer meals, free of charge, for NHS staff to eat during their breaks, or at home after a hard day’s work.

The Tickled Trout staff have already given away 700 meals to NHS staff facing new challenges in their work under the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Mapp said: “We know as chefs what it’s like to do long hours.

“When you get home from a long shift, you know you’re hungry but can’t be bothered to start cooking.

“So, we just thought we could try and do something just to help the incredible staff of the Chesterfield hospital.”

Their suppliers at Country Fresh Foods, Highfield House Farm, and Delitalia, are donating their produce to the Tickled Trout pub, free of charge.

Staff at the pub cook up a variety of meals from local produce, including garlic pesto pasta, which they made from wild garlic they picked themselves, and deliver each vacuum-packed portion to the hospital themselves.

Lauren White, Abi Lankford, Teddy Edgar, Stuart McArdle, Nathan Davies and Chris Mapp with their food packs

Mr Mapp has been delighted with the response from the public.

He said: “People have been welcoming what we’ve been doing, and the staff have been getting involved to say thanks. It’s heart-warming”

Over 10,000 people watched the Tickled Trout’s announcement video on Facebook, and the owner said the scheme has lifted the emotional strain the lockdown has had on him and his staff.

He said: “It’s been tough that we have gone from 100 miles an hour to zero overnight.

“We’ve found it disheartening, but this has given us a purpose and a focus to do something positive for the community.”

Although Mr Mapp had originally wanted to run a delivery business to adapt to the new social distance measures, he soon decided that it was unfeasible, and was forced to furlough his staff.

However, the pub owner said they have made links with butchers and vegetable suppliers to make hampers to distribute to customers, to help the pub through these uncertain times.

The Tickled Trout staff are determined to keep the donation scheme going for their local community.

Mr Mapp said: “For as long as we can get products off our suppliers, we’ll keep doing it. We’ll keep doing it as long as we’ve got the stuff to do it with.”