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Inspero continue to provide a lifeline to Basingstoke residents 3 years after the Covid-19 Pandemic

When heathy eating and gardening charity Inspero decided to jump into action and adapt their services to provide vital support for vulnerable residents at the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, they had no idea how long the crisis would extend for. 3+ years down the line and they are still working hard to provide support for residents and are preparing to continue into 2024 as the costing of living crisis affects so many families and vulnerable older people.

‘At this time of year Inspero would usually enjoying the fruits of autumn, with the schools back we would be running our regular healthy cooking classes for young people at BCOT, enjoying all the season has to offer at our community garden with weekly Forest School and Green Therapy sessions. As well as working with local schools to support students with additional needs and local businesses to offer team building days. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has put a halt to many of these group activities, however Inspero is busier than ever with the services we have introduced to support vulnerable residents throughout these unprecedented times.’

These services Inspero have introduced include.

  • A ‘drop in’ Community Food Hub Shop based at Kempshott Village Hall stocked with donated grocery items from local supermarkets and produce from Inspero’s own organic garden for those struggling to feed themselves and their families.
  • Weekly food packages deliveries for those unable to get out due to shielding or in family difficulties, lost their jobs due to Covid-19.
  • Shopping and prescription collection and delivery
  • Weekly deliveries of a hot healthy meal for the elderly and vulnerable.
  • Friendly check in and chat calls for those feeling lonely or struggling with mental health.
Songul and Tasharna at Food Hub Shop
Part of Community Shop
Vegetable Table Food Shop

With all these new activities going on you would think that Catherine and her small team of dedicated volunteers would have enough to do however they have still managed to keep a few of their usual programmes going but adapted for Covid-19 to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Their Love2Cook healthy eating cookery classes for example, have like many things ‘delivered online’ with young families logging onto Zoom for 13 free guided classes throughout lockdown. During these classes Inspero’s brilliant Chef Glen guides budding young chefs and their families to whip up a plethora of delicious delights including Chicken Korma, Chorizo Paella & Caesar Salad, Toad in the Hole, Stone baked Pizza, Hong Kong style Sweet & Sour chicken to name a few.  These classes for now are continuing online with a small charge of £5 per family.

Chef Glen
Daisy making Fajitas
Edward with his Tomato, Spinach and Feta quiche

Inspero’s Community Garden has also continued to be a ‘socially distanced’ hive of activity throughout lockdown and beyond. During strict lockdown a team of dedicated garden volunteers worked tirelessly to keep things up together as best they could taking different days of the week to tend the gardens crops to keep mixing limited. As lockdown restrictions have eased Green Therapy sessions have returned in a socially distant way and the garden welcomed a team of students completing their National Citizens Service during August.

NCS Volunteers Painting Compost Bins

Inspero are desperate to reactivate their other programmes such as Forest School and welcome more students and businesses back to their community garden but as Covid-19 cases continue to rise they may need to keep the pause button on for a little longer.

It has been two years since the charity was the first organisation in Basingstoke to win the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and the charity would like to say a massive thank you to its dedicated volunteers for stepping up to support local people at this challenging time.

Inspero would welcome any food and basic essential donations to its Food Hub at Kempshott Village Hall Tuesday and Thursday 10am – 1pm or if you would like to donate funds to our Covid community work they would be very grateful.