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Coronavirus Kent: Owners of Faversham's The Carriage Restaurant offering free frozen meals to those in need

The owners of a family-run restaurant have made it their mission to deliver free meals to those most in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nicky Martin and his partner Tania Bourne, who run The Carriage in Faversham, have halted their paid-for takeaway service in order to put their efforts into their 'donate a dinner' scheme.

Tania Bourne and partner Nicky Martin are trying to help those in need
Tania Bourne and partner Nicky Martin are trying to help those in need

"Initially, we set it up as a 'donate a dinner' to try and cover some of the costs of stock for the scheme," Tania said.

"We're a small, family run restaurant so couldn't manage to cover everything ourselves.

"The reason for this is because Nicky, our chef and owner, went to the foodbank with some items and found out they can't accept any fresh produce.

"Given all the panic buying at the supermarkets we just wanted to our bit for the community that has supported us the past four years."

So the pair gave people the option of buying a takeaway for themselves at £3.50, with an extra £1.50 donation for them to send out food to someone in need.

The Carriage Restaurant co-owner and chef, Nicky Martin. Picture: Andy Jones
The Carriage Restaurant co-owner and chef, Nicky Martin. Picture: Andy Jones

"The response has been phenomenal," Tania added. "Locals were donating, as well as phone calls from people all over the country asking to donate.

"Now, we're not sure if we legally can carry on offering paid for takeaway food. However, morally we can't.

"We've stopped offering our paid for takeaway service so we can focus more time on this scheme.

"While we are not taking donations at the moment, this may change soon - our stock prices are increasing so we've had to think outside the box with dinners we are making."

The couple own The Carriage Restaurant in Faversham
The couple own The Carriage Restaurant in Faversham

People can get a dinner deliver for free by contacting Nicky and Tania via the Carriage Restaurant page on Facebook, or leaving a message on 07522 494203.

"The phone is only monitored twice a week, but we will get back to everyone," Tania said.

"We've had a local chef, Nat from the Sun, come in to help us make meals, Samsons Veg stall from Faversham Markets donate some vegetables to use, and so many locals drop in cash and cheques to get food out to people in need. "All the dinners we are doing can be eaten fresh or frozen until needed.

"We didn't start this to make any money - we just wanted to help people in our community and stop ourselves from falling into a pit of self pity."

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