A CAFÉ owner has taken elderly and vulnerable customers under her wing during the coronavirus pandemic. Old Saddler’s Yard Café is delivering hot meals to customers across the Uttoxeter area as well as providing free meals for those most in need.
Staffordshire County Council member, Cllr David Brookes, has awarded the café £450 from a special Covid-19 fund, to support their work with elderly and vulnerable people in the town. Proprietor Jayne Thompson had leaflets printed and ready before the lockdown was announced after realising many of her regular customers could be facing isolation on their own.
Jayne said: “Before the lockdown started we decided that if it did come to that point we would do hot meals for the elderly and vulnerable – mainly because a lot of our customers are elderly and vulnerable and we know how they rely on us for some company – just to see a face. We’d made leaflets and posted them through people’s doors and put them up in town in places like the Post Office before we went into lockdown. When we went into lockdown, we didn’t think we would be that busy at first, but it really took off.”
While prices remain the same as they were in the café, Jayne decided to offer free delivery and organised free hot meals for those in need. She has also collected a host of donated books and jigsaws that her customers can take turns to borrow. Jayne added: “Everything is obviously carefully cleaned before it’s passed on. We talk to customers and when we discovered how bored some of them were I put an appeal out on Facebook for jigsaws and books. We’ve also got talking books for people who are blind, so it’s all going quite well.
“My step-daughter Rebecca Whieldon has been volunteering with delivering and paying for petrol out of her own pocket. She’s been fabulous. The money from Cllr Brookes just means I can give her some money for petrol and we can continue with all the extras that mean so much. We’ve bought flowers and teddies for customers when we know they’re feeling down, Rebecca made up a hamper for one lady and asked us to deliver it with her order. If family members order for a relative, we take their phone number so we can let them know if we come across any concerns.
“But as well as petrol there are other costs. In the café we’d normally serve on plates. Now we have to buy take-away cartons in different sizes, which don’t come cheap. We’re in full PPE when we deliver and our customers tend to give us cash in an envelope, so I bought envelopes and popped them through their letter boxes to make it easier for them. It’s all those little extras that say we do care and we want to be able to do that for people, because that’s what makes the difference. It’s never been about profit for us, it’s always been about giving people somewhere they can feel at home and feel welcome. We make an effort to remember all our customers’ names, to introduce ourselves and ask how they are.
“It’s just me and Helen Juggins, who is an absolute diamond. She is working so hard and has been absolutely brilliant. We’re so grateful to everyone for all the amazing messages we’ve had on Facebook and the fantastic support we’ve had from our customers old and new. We’ve also had some personal donations to allow us to keep on providing free meals and the extras, which is just tremendous. I’d also like to thank Cllr Brookes for sorting out that additional funding for us.”
We are the only family run, independent newspaper and magazine business in Staffordshire, established 1896. We are home to three weekly newspapers – The Cheadle and Tean Times (aka The Stunner), The Uttoxeter Echo and The Blythe and Forsbrook Times.
We also produce Peeps into the Past, a bi-monthly nostalgic glimpse into our photographic archives, and three bi-monthly glossy lifestyle magazines – Stone and Eccleshall Life, Leek Life and Newcastle Life.
T. 01538 752214 or 753162
18 Tape Street, Cheadle, Staffs ST10 1BD
T. 01889 562479
5 Church Street, Uttoxeter, Staffs ST14 8AG (Uttoxeter Office is a postal address only)