Abbey Access keeping in touch through the pandemic


Gosh – sometimes it’s hard to think of what to cook day after day, isn’t it? And lockdown makes it even harder, especially for anyone with money worries to compound everything.

Cooking from home

I chatted with Sharron from the Arboretum Cafe, who’s running “Cooking from Home” with her colleague Oli, apprentice chef Alex, and learners from Abbey Access Training. It’s a series of posts, videos, recipes and general check-ins via Facebook. Fresh ideas for nice, simple, nourishing food – veggie risottos, fruity yoghurty breakfast, ravioli with homemade pesto… It’s proving popular with regular customers, and other random followers like me – just looking for an idea for dinner!

(Here’s the link if you’re wondering what to eat tonight!)

Connecting through food

I’m making light of it, but it’s a connection that really means a lot to people – and it’s not just the yummy pictures and the friendly, encouraging healthy eating reminders on Facebook: Sharron keeps up Whatspp groups, has zoom meetings and sends friendly emails to the community of learners who do courses at Abbey Access Training, including apprentices, college students, adults finding their path out of unemployment.

“Everyone is coping with their own problems,” Sharron points out. There are single people who come to the cafe every day, mostly for a chat. And people struggling with mental health difficulties, or getting enough good, healthy food; people who are living alone without access to the internet – something that many of us take for granted.

The Arboretum Cafe – more than a cafe!

Under normal circumstances, local kids go there for after school cooking clubs – they make home made fish fingers and take them home for tea; youngsters and adults gain qualifications in customer service, food hygiene, COSHH L1 and HACCP as well as friendships and confidence; and locals can enjoy decent and very reasonably priced food in the sweet little cafe, or – even better – outside under the shade of the trees in Lincoln’s beautiful arboretum!

Anyway, I recommend you check out their Facebook page for ideas and local friendliness, and give Sharron and the team some appreciation for the important community connection that they are keeping alive through these tricky times. Or you can take a look at their website.

All photos thanks to Arboretum Cafe

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