Pensioners’ pal Bill Gredley hands over £50k to Newmarket's Covid-19 fund
Property tycoon and pensioners’ pal Bill Gredley has donated £50,000 to Newmarket’s Covid-19 Fund set up to help residents through the current crisis.
The Stetchworth-based property developer has made the donation through his Unex Group company to the fund managed by the Newmarket Festival, which is working in partnership with Newmarket Town Council, the Voluntary Network,the Jockey Club, the Racing Centre, Godolphin, and Churches Together.
One of the initiatives being supported is a hot meals service launched to support residents in need. In the first week of operation, Newmarket’s Montaz restaurant provided 47 meals and was followed the following week by a donation from town butcher Powters which saw 72 portions of bangers and mash cooked and served up by Jockey Club Estates staff.
The festival has also supported the Chestnut Group of restaurants, which locally owns The Packhorse, in Moulton, and the Three Blackbirds, in Wood Ditton, by paying for 1,000 meals for NHS staff and other key healthcare workers in the Newmarket area.
All meals are being delivered by Jockey Club volunteers as part of its community scheme using buses provided by tour company, Discover Newmarket and the festival has also teamed up with Tesco to deliver parcels containing food and toiletries to elderly and infirm residents who can’t shop for themselves.
Festival chairman Mark Edmondson said Mr Gredley’s donation was ‘unbelievably kind and generous’and would touch the lives of many people.
“For some it will be the difference between eating hot food or not. We at the Festival will never forget” he said.
Families with children who receive free school meals have been the focus of Newmarket Churches Together since April 7.
“It’s wonderful that restaurants, shops, and the Jockey Club have stepped in to supply, cook and deliver ready to eat hot lunches to our growing group of client families,” said Deacon James Hurst.
“Between us we are supplying at least three square meals a week for these families.”
On Monday, Newmarket Town councillors, meeting through video conferencing, agreed to allocate a further £5,000 towards costs associated with the coronavirus response.
The council had initially agreed to set aside £10,000 in funding and has given £5,000 to the festival fund.
A cost breakdown showed that of the £10,000, £7,648.20 had been spent, of which £4,641.29 was listed as council staff overtime including 98 hours worked in a three-week period by acting town council manager, Deborah Sarson, and charged at £30 an hour.
Other costs were associated with the printing of leaflets containing information and the helpline number for vulnerable residents which has been manned by councillors, and the setting up of a special website.
“What we have set up is working and people appreciate it,” said Cllr Tom Kerby, “and I think we have been able to help most of the people who have contacted us.”