November 25, 2016
The Country Food Trust has partnered with Veterans Aid in a bid to introduce wholesome and quick-to-prepare meals to its London hostel residents.

The Country Food Trust is a charity launched in 2015 to help feed those in need. In 2016 it fed over 20,000 people and aims to feed over 1,000,000 people in the next five years in a sustainable manner. It produces a delicious Country Casserole containing diced pheasant breast, vegetables and herbs that is nutritious, low in cholesterol and high in vitamins. The casserole is packaged in ready-to-eat long life pouches, which do not need to be kept chilled and are easily prepared. Individual donors fund the Charity but they also retail the casserole on the basis that for every one sold, one is donated to a person in need.

Tim Woodward Chief Executive of The Country Food Trust who is ex military said, “We are delighted to partner with Veterans Aid to help those who have given so much for their country. Veterans Aid is exactly the sort of partner charity we are looking to help as we grow in the coming years.”

CEO of Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy said, “Country Food Trust’s products have been a godsend to our residents – microwaveable, nutritious, tasty and with a long shelf-life, they are the perfect fit for both hungry Drop-in Centre clients and hostel residents slowly getting to grips with the road to sustainable independence.

“Food is often the first intervention by VA staff. Some of the men and women ringing our doorbell can’t recall when they last ate or had a warm drink. Our tiny kitchen is equipped with just a kettle and a microwave, which are both in constant use.”

At the heart of VA is its New Belvedere House (NBH) hostel, presently home to 55 men who would otherwise be homeless. Many clients arrive at the charity badly nourished and in poor health. Typically in their 30s and 40s residents stay for around nine months.

During this period residents are encouraged to adopt regular, healthy eating routines augmented by voluntary fitness training. When the hostel’s redevelopment project is completed it will feature a training kitchen and fully equipped gym.

There is (deliberately!) no canteen or restaurant because VA’s Welfare to Wellbeing© model involves individuals becoming proactive rather than being spoon-fed. To get their free breakfast residents have to get up and go out. The single rooms contain fridges and their occupants have access to microwave ovens and toasters in communal kitchens. Those who have graduated to NBH’s recently renovated ‘flatshare’ accommodation are able to prepare meals together . . . but it is a learning process, as many have lost or never developed cookery skills.

Dr Milroy added, “Introduction of the casseroles has meant that men returning late after work, training or treatment sessions have had access to something tasty and healthful – and as the cold weather closes in, availability of a quick-to-prepare hot meal makes them particularly popular.”