Somerset Medal: Covid award for café owner who fed people for free
“Without the cafe my own mental health would have been really bad.”
Kate Gardiner, from Bridgwater, gave away thousands of free food and support packages during the pandemic to homeless people, families in need and shielders through her café, The Purple Spoon.
Local organisations and community members crowdfunded to ensure she could continue with her efforts.
She has since been awarded with the Somerset Medal for her selfless work.
Set up by Somerset County Council, it recognises people who went above and beyond to help others during the coronavirus outbreak.
Miss Gardiner said she was “absolutely gobsmacked” to be given the award.
“I got very worried about mental health of parents and carers during the third lockdown and I saw a post about the government food parcel, which was horrifying,” she said.
“These people that normally received free school meals are not getting the extra support, so I told people they could grab a free hot meal or a packed lunch and the response was just overwhelming.”
Toys, colouring in packs, books, support packages and mental wellbeing signposting leaflets were given as well as food.
“We were doing what felt right for us, the café was being used and we were helping people,” she added.
She said being able to help people kept her and her team going.
‘Heartfelt thank you’
“There was a lady who would come to the cafe who had been diagnosed with cancer, she was a single mother with children who had additional needs, doing her oncology visits with her children in the car.
“There was one day she was feeling especially ill and she messaged and said she couldn’t make it to collect food.
“We arranged for her meals to be delivered and that made her so happy.”
Leader of Somerset County Council David Fothergill said: “When the nominations came in they were just humbling and very warming.
“From us and the community we want to give a heartfelt thank you to those who did so much for us during quite difficult days.”
Kate is a member of the 100 Women First Programme and has been supported by a MHFA qualification and other opportunities.