Food on the Move


This project has had National recognition for Isle of Wight and Lymington-Brockenhurst Community Rail Partnerships immediate response to COVID-19.

In March 2020, Permission was sought from funders, South Western railway and Cross-Country Trains to divert the funding secured for the yearly events ‘Music on The Move’ to ‘Food on the Move’ to help vulnerable families and elderly isolated individuals who urgently needed support.

The vulnerable families/carers were furloughed or made redundant and their children were not in receipt of free school meals. The elderly were those who were advised to isolate but hadn’t been given slots from Supermarkets for deliveries and had no family indeed support within their often rural locations, particularly in the New Forest.

Those on the Island were often bereaved and single, having retired to the Island with no family or indeed friends to support them, of which there are sadly alarmingly high amounts of cases.

The CRPs were able to work with our partners to get the help needed; In Lymington and Brockenhurst, the CRP worked with housing agencies and a school hub, the latter facilitated by the Friends of Brockenhurst Station to asses need. Need was made clear through Priestlands PTA working with their feeder schools where teachers had been putting their own money towards help provide for these families who had fallen through the immediate net of Government provision.

Teachers, volunteers and families were very grateful for the desperately needed and urgent funds for Food on the Move and the teams were able to shop, assemble, pack and distribute safely, non-perishable goods to the value of £10 per box. These boxes include pasta, tinned goods, toilet paper and long-life milk, delivered to families with children from 14 schools in Lymington, Pennington, New Milton, Sway and Brockenhurst ranging from infant to High School and to date over 3000 vulnerable children and families have been provided for.

Over the water and on to the Isle of Wight, CRP Manager Bobby Lock worked again to asses need through ‘Gaslight Café’ and community stalwart Ali Smith, the proprietor of the café, who understands first-hand the local community need from Shanklin to Ryde, (the latter with two wards in the multicies of deprivation)

Ali with her team worker Ann Abe, whose own dance agency DanceVibez has been halted through the pandemic, took up the herculean task of Food on The Move to shop and prepare 400 Railwayman’s lunches a week in Sandown Stations Gaslight kitchens.

Food on the Move has now raised just short of £60,000 for our vulnerable and isolated elderly in our communities and further bids are being sought for the new financial year as in the new lockdown the need for support is unfortunately increasing with housing association with new partners coming forward with referrals for particularly young single parents in emergency accommodation; all victims of the pandemic through job and accommodation losses separation and divorce.

Funders are;

South Western Railways Cross Country Trains

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation

National Lottery Community Foundation

Isle of Wight Council Wight Aid