#FeldyRoo Mission Statement: To provide a FREE food and newspaper delivery service for Residents in the Aberfeldy & District Area who have become isolated during the Covid 19 Pandemic. This service will be for EVERYONE who is either Over 70 or are in the vulnerable category for health or other reasons.

Week 1: The #FeldyRoo project started quite modestly on March 19th when we (at the Fountain Bar & Restaurant) decided to offer a free evening meal service to the isolated Over 70s in Aberfeldy.  On the first night, we set off in one car to deliver 11 hot meals in the town.  After carrying out a local leaflet drop and releasing a promotional video of that first night’s delivery on social media, the impact was tremendous.  This resulted in the request for meals more than doubling over the course of the next two nights.

At this point, other businesses within the town took notice and volunteered to get involved.   First the Watermill offered to provide a morning delivery of a soup, roll and cake.  Three other Aberfeldy restaurants then offered to take on one night of cooking each. Chillies Indian Restaurant, The Three Lemons and Thyme to Eat at Errichel. This left the four remaining evenings being provided by the Fountain Bar & Restaurant.

At the same time, numerous locals within the town volunteered their service as delivery drivers and this enabled us to split the routes within the town to three, now delivering twice per day.

Other local groups and businesses offered some financial help which then gave us the idea to add a newspaper on the morning delivery, something we felt important to offer to our isolated residents.

Week 2: By this point two more cafes had joined forces with #FeldyRoo to help with the lunches by taking one day each on – The Old Filling Station and The Tay Café.  The Aberfeldy Co-op also came on board and offered to add a free dessert every evening for our residents.

With the numbers now steadily rising to around 80 lunches and 80 dinners per day, we realised that we needed some sort of long-term plan to sustain this project.  We saw there was a big demand for the service and knew that it would only get bigger.  To this point, the restaurants and cafes were offering their services free of charge but also the food.  This clearly this couldn’t continue at the scale the project was growing, so we had to think how we could sustain the project.

Luckily there were a few individuals in the town who had already come forward to Volunteer with #FeldyRoo who we knew had good experience with raising funds for Community projects and may also know the best places to apply for grants.  We decided to put  their skill set to good use and  it was at this point we formed a Funding Team within #FeldyRoo.   Within days from setting up a Go Fund Me Page, we had received over £10,000 from local donations.  They were also successful, very quickly in securing a £5000 grant from the Highland Action Partnership.

Week 3: Boosted with our increased funds and by now attracting a lot of media attention for the project, we made the decision to expand again.  We decided to offer the service to the outlying villages West of Aberfeldy – Weem, Dull, Coshieville, Kenmore, Acharn, Fortingall and Fearnan.  This required more volunteers for deliveries, but we had this in high supply as the Community really got behind the project.  We now had 5 different routes within Aberfeldy going out twice per day, and four routes going to the outlying villages.   Our numbers now averaged around 140 meals being provided twice a day.

During this period, many other businesses within the town offered monetary and practical support.  Aberfeldy Distillery supplied us with lots of PPE equipment, even whisky miniatures to go out with the meals for our residents.  We were donated meat by local game suppliers Breadalbane Sporting and Glen Lyon Estate.  MacDonald Butchers provided all the butcher work for us.  Dows Delicatessen supplied us with many cakes and packaging.  Breadalbane Bakery offered to supply us with extra bread for the lunches. The Co-op continued to provide support and even offered other necessities like milk and eggs for our residents.  There was much more, there was a real buzz in the town and the whole community seemed to want to help in whatever way they could.

Week 4: Our Funding Team made a major breakthrough this week when we secured an amazing £47,300 grant from SSE Renewables.  This went alongside the Go Fund Me Page reaching a staggering £18,000.  We were also receiving many cash and cheque donations from some of the residents which was to become a successful part of the model.

This was quickly followed by another £7711 grant from The National Lottery Scotland.

Numbers were continuing to rise as the word spread, we were now hitting around 160 meals twice per day.

The positive feedback and support received from the residents, families of those residents in isolation who live far and wide and were unable to provide direct support themselves, and from the local community, really inspired us during this time.

Week 5: We decided at this point due to demand, to expand again, moving out East to the villages of Grandtully, Strathtay, Logerait, Balnaguard and Ballinluig.  We were now covering an area of around 25 miles within Highland Perthshire.

The logistics for doing this and keeping the meals warm were a problem but we managed to recruit another two restaurants in this area – The Inn on The Tay and Ballintaggart, both situated in Grandtully, 5 miles East of Aberfeldy.  Both restaurants offered to share the 7 days a week and to provide meals twice per day.

We also had no problem in recruiting enough volunteer drivers, again the response was tremendous, and we soon had 4 routes leaving Grandtully twice per day.  We now had a total of 15 #FeldyRoo routes delivering meals twice per day.  The numbers naturally increased again and by the end of this week we were reaching 200 meals, twice a day.

We were rewarded again for our efforts, this time by NHS Tayside Community Innovation Fund, with a grant of £7967

Week 6: With a total of 9 restaurants and cafes now taking part, delivering 200 meals, twice a day, 7 days a week, our numbers stabilised around this figure.  We now had over 100 volunteers taking part in the project, all wearing #FeldyRoo branded clothing as a safeguarding measure.  The printing costs and logo design etc for this was again all donated by local businesses Grandtully Logos and EMB Graphics.

A further income boost was to come from our Funding team with additional grants of £5000 being received from Foundation Scotland and The Northwood Charitable Trust.  The latter is part of the DC Thomson Group, who also subsidised part of the costs of our newspapers.  As you can imagine, these daily costs were quite significant by this point.  We believed though, that it was still a very important part of the service and much appreciated by the residents.  The Go Fund Me Page was still rising, hitting £23,000 by this point.  Our total funds raised by the end of Week 6 was over £105,000.

The funds we had received went towards the cost price of food, packaging, newspapers and PPE. Everything else was and still is, contributed on a totally voluntary basis, our chef’s from a variety of local businesses, working tirelessly every day to provide the amazing food to our army of volunteers donating their time and transport (no travel costs have ever been included) to ensure the food is delivered with a smile.

Week 7: Every Sunday Thyme to Eat would cook Sunday Roasts for all our residents on the 15 routes.  On Day 46 our numbers peaked when they made 241 portions of Roast Beef to go out on the Sunday night.

The numbers certainly were at their highest over this period when we were daily serving around 440 meals per day.

By this point we had set up another sub funding team (Raffle & Games), who would go on to be highly successful for the project.  They ran a videoed raffle this week and raised a further £2500 for the funds.  They would continue to do some amazing work in the following weeks.

Week 8: The beauty of the project was really shining throughout the community now with the social interaction with residents proving every bit as important as the food delivery.  Real relationships were being formed between volunteers and residents who had now been isolated for almost 2 months.

To add to this, Breadalbane Academy got involved and encouraged the school children to provide cards, games and other imaginative items for our residents.  This interaction proved to be really successful.  The response from the children was fantastic and again many more relationships were formed, with the lost art of pen pal writing re-emerging in the Community.

Week 9: Many other community groups showed their support to the project.  Donations were given from several Community Groups – The Rotary Club, Junior Agricultural Club, The Lodge in Aberfeldy and  Kenmore and Breadalbane Football Club.

The Aberfeldy Drama Club even produced a version of Abba’s “Waterloo” with the lyrics changed to “FeldyRoo”.  This went down a storm on social media with this all being done remotely (one of the singers lives in Canada now).

Week 10: We were to reach a milestone this week when we delivered our 20,000th meal.  It really had been a fantastic effort and numbers were still averaging over 400 meals per day as we approached end of May.

The volunteers were all still very motivated and enjoying being part of #FeldyRoo.  This was so apparent in the weekly videos that were being produced by Iain Struthers Photography.  Every Friday an update would be shown highlighting the work of the volunteers, what it meant to them and what it meant to some of the residents.

Week 11: Our fund raising never stopped.  We were awarded another £2000 grant from the Community Wellbeing Fund, our Go Fund Me Page had reached over £27,000.  Our Raffle and Games Team raised a further £3000 from running the #FeldyRoo Scottish Cup, which engaged with the Community over a three week period. We also had a local pair from Beyond Adventure, who pushed a canoe 26 km over dry land to raise funds for the project, generating a further £1000.

We also had interaction from abroad, with former residents of Aberfeldy wanting to do their bit for #FeldyRoo. Gifts were sent from the USA and Australia of various items.  From the USA, Under Armour #FeldyRoo tops were sent for the volunteers.  From Australia arrived 120 Kangaroo key rings as a keep sake for our volunteers.  This has all really helped to keep morale high and in keeping the Community spirit going.

Week 12 & 13: This take us up to the present day and the #FeldyRoo project is still going strong.  Numbers are still high, though are dropping gradually as residents have more confidence to return to a more normal life.  The daily meals are still close to the 200 mark for both lunches and dinner.  We do see this dropping as we hopefully reach phase 2 and then 3 of the lock down.

We are scheduled to reach 30,000 meals on Friday 19th June which again will be an amazing milestone.

Some volunteers have already returned to work, but we still have enough to keep going. The volunteers and the 9 cafes and restaurants have all committed to keep going until the end of July.

We haven’t given up on our fund raising either.  To date we have raised over £125,000 with another Silent Auction arranged for Day 101, with some amazing locally donated prizes on offer.

The #FeldyRoo story continues ……………………………………..

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(Update provided by Feldy-Roo)