Clare's mobile meals are a recipe for success
IN the wake of cuts to a programme aimed at feeding people unable to cook for themselves, a new company is trying to fill the gap with its old fashioned service.
Claryfairys, based in Cockfield, has started a “meals on wheels” scheme to serve dinners to people who struggle to cook for themselves.
Owner Clare Turner, who recently opened a café in Evenwood, started delivering in the Gaunless Valley and is now hoping to expand to Barnard Castle and the upper dale.
She said: “Local governments have shut down their schemes. It used to be run from schools. They did the dinners and volunteers took them around. But that is gone now and the other meals on wheels service provides frozen meals which is not the same.
“We give people hot meals and it’s always done from fresh so they can freeze it if they want.
“Interest is picking up as more people are getting to know about us but I hadn’t realised just how lacking Staindrop, Barnard Castle and upper Teesdale are.”
Mrs Turner added: “Because we have just started in Barnard Castle, I went into the Teesdale Disability Action Forum and they were crying out for something like this because they have so many people who would benefit.
“There are a lot of older people living quite isolated who could benefit from it.”
Though Durham County Council can help people get in touch with providers serving dinners, it does not pay for the service and meals are not freshly prepared.
A service is also provided by the Kings Court Care Home, in Barnard Castle, which cooks meals at the same time as it does for residents and then delivers them to people living in their own homes.
Mrs Turner, who started her business as a café based in the Lipscomb Hall, in Cockfield, oversees the operation from her home, where most of the cooking takes place in a portable hut in her garden.
After deciding to move on from that café she decided to make use of some vans, which she bought from a council’s meals on wheels service, to start delivering in the local area.
Starting off in Cockfield and Evenwood, she now delivers in West Auckland and Bishop Auckland and has also taken over the Meals Made Easy service in Shildon.
In just under a year the business has gone from employing three people to 21 people and Mrs Turner has recently taken on a new driver to cater for people in the Barnard Castle area.
Though she has recently taken a step back from cooking, she still insists on her old-fashioned methods.
She said: “The name for the business comes from what my gran used to call me. She taught me how to cook so I’ve always done it the old-fashioned way. All the girls have to do it my way because that’s the ethos behind it.
“With the menu, we’ve tried to do quite traditional meals so it’s things people would have cooked themselves when they were a bit fitter.”
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