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Newmarket Day Centre is big winner with Covid-19 Lottery cash

Newmarket Day Centre staff are celebrating after being awarded more than £9,000 to help it continue delivering meals to the elderly and vulnerable during the current coronavirus crisis.

Centre charity director Elvis McMinn, who has been at the forefront of efforts to get two-course meals out to clients, many of whom would normally be enjoying them in the restaurant of the Fred Archer Way centre which has been forced to close because of the pandemic, said: “We’re delighted that the National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way.

“Now, thanks to National Lottery players, we will be able to press on and increase and expand our food delivery service to as many isolated and vulnerable people as possible. The over-70s who are most at risk may be isolated for some time yet.

Newmarket Day Centre, Fred Archer Way (34697651)
Newmarket Day Centre, Fred Archer Way (34697651)

“When we make our welfare calls each week to all the clients on our radar they are a generation so frightened by this virus. They enjoy a welcome chat and at the same time we find out if they need any small food packages.”

The centre has been awarded £9,100 after making an application to the National Lottery Community Fund which has been prioritising organisations supporting people who are at high risk from Covid-19.

According to the centre, the funding will enable it to increase and expand its food delivery service to the isolated and vulnerable and at the same time, as restrictions ease, maintain the large number of lockdownservices it provides at present.

The centre which first opened its doors nearly 40 years ago is usually open five days a week offering much-needed services to the over 50s including care, podiatry, hairdressing, bathing facilities and perhaps most important of all for some company.

It currently has a staff of nine and some 40 volunteers who are involved in delivering 104 hot meals, prepared in the day centre’s kitchens, five days a week, plus frozen meals for some at weekends.

Michael ‘Jenko’ Jenkins, one of the centre’s regular helpers said:“As a volunteer for nearly 10 years I am so pleased that the organisation has received recognition in the form of such a generous donation.

“This will help to sustain the current support the day centre is providing for the local community and increase awareness of the many facilities they offer ongoing. It is also a tribute to the efforts the staff have made, as they always do, by going the extra ‘furlong’.”

The centre has been helped over the past few weeks by food donations from Waitrose as well as from local groups including Jade Skillen’s fitness bootcamp. There has also been a £20,000 donation from local philanthropist Kirsen Rausing and money from the Newmarket Covid-19 Fund, which is managed by the Newmarket Festival group.

Last month, the Journal went out with volunteers and saw just how much the delivery of meals meant to the centre’s clients both in Newmarket and its immediate surrounding villages for whom it has become a lifeline.