Cooking with Grays

Whilst delivering food to many of the refuges and hostels across Grays, it has been mentioned to me a number of times that they don’t want or need food that needs to be cooked as ‘they don’t like to cook’!

Whilst delivering food to a homeless women and children’s unit recently, I started talking about food and cooking with some of the residents, who promptly asked whether I would teach them to cook some simple recipes, after about a minute’s consideration-I said Yes!

Morrisons in Grays have been donating food to me for donation on to these hostels among other beneficiaries, so I wanted to include them. I have been working closely with Tarnya Bennett-Morrisons Community Champion for Grays (see picture) and she was happy to be involved in this project, even offering to buy most of the ingredients and print off the recipes.

I also had a conversation with a former colleague-Graeme Collie Head of Commercial Catering at South Essex College (SEC) and he was also very keen to be part of this project.

Week 1 of the project was about some basic ideas and I took a small group of ladies through making a basic tomato pasta sauce, then showing them one of the uses as we turned it into a cheesy pasta bake (pictured below). We discussed alternative ingredients and uses for the pasta sauce including how you could disguise vegetables in the sauce for fussy eaters.

They have requested that I show them how to make Carrot Cake Cupcakes for Week 2. I am looking forward to it. SEC will take over from me as cookery teacher after Wk 2 and I know that they have some exciting ideas to teach everyone.

Litter Pick at Falcon Wood

A small team of Riverside Community Big Local volunteers spent Sunday morning picking litter from the piece of land along Bridge Road known as Falconwood.

Working with local residents and organisations the Big Local plans to create a Pocket Park on this previously un-cared for land.

As part of these plans the Big Local thinned out some of the dead and dangerous trees and started to level off the land. The levelling off revealed a large amount of rubbish that had been buried for many years.

In all volunteers collected 24 sacks of cans, bottles and other rubbish – as well as a number of larger items of rubbish.

Chair of the Riverside Community Big Local, Andy Blakey, said;

“Falconwood is a hidden gem and we plan to work with residents to make it a really pleasant place for people to enjoy. It time, we will look to put some appropriate seating and other amenities but – for now – the efforts of volunteers on Sunday has made to the area that bit nicer to look at and walk through.

“Thanks to Steve, Anton, Jacqueline and John for giving their time and to Thurrock Council for disposing of the rubbish collected.”

Ambulance Station Memorial Garden

From this to this 

     

When local paramedic Neil Ruch sadly died from Covid 19 in May, his colleagues wanted to create a memorial garden for him.

Riverside Community heard about this and offered to help. Local construction companies came forward to help to create an area at the rear of the Hogg Lane ambulance station, including a patio and some raised beds.

All they needed now was some plants……and some know-how!

Just 3 hours and a dozen volunteers later and a Caribbean island had been created, the perfect place for paramedics to relax in between calls. Ok, the fantastic mural was created sometime earlier but the rest was completed in that short time.

Riverside Community Big Local working with Smiths Orchard Garden Centre have provided the compost, topsoil and all of the plants to complete the planned sensory and wildlife-friendly area which is being completed with bird table and feeders.

The paramedics have worked out a watering rota to keep the garden looking its best, although I don’t think even the rain would spoil this lovely sunny garden spot.

Free City and Guild course – Covid-19 – returning to the workplace and staying safe

This free e-learning course will support your understanding of Covid-19 and help you think about how you can reduce the spread of the virus in the workplace to protect yourself and others.

The module takes only 15-20 minutes to complete and has been split into four topic areas below. It will help you to develop an understanding on the importance of safely practices and the methods used to control Covid-19 transmission in the workplace.

What Coronavirus like

This fella works at the London Borough of Camden. Up to a week or so ago he was fit, played football a couple of times a week. He is the head of repairs and has coronavirus 19. He wants people to know what it’s like and why we should be complying with the government advice. Please pass on so people get the seriousness of coronavirus.

I have the coronavirus also known as covid-19. My friends are worried that people are not taking it seriously. They asked me to make a video to show what the virus is like and make people aware of the signs and symptoms.

How to spot a LoanShark

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) recognise that this period may be one of high financial pressure for many people, and is fully committed to ensuring that illegal money lenders (loan sharks) do not take advantage and profit from other people’s hardship.

The Stop Loan Sharks helpline service (0300 555 2222) remains open and fully operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage not only victims but also friends, family members and the wider community to come forward if they suspect someone is suffering at the hands of loan sharks. A victim of a loan shark should contact the team for help. Visit the website here for more info and support

Anyone who is feeling harassed or threatened by an illegal money lender can find out more about the different ways the team can help here.

Loan sharks are not your friends – these criminals are highly manipulative and want you under their control. Find out how to get help if you or someone you know is a victim of illegal money lending here.

You can check if a company is authorised to lend money at www.loansmart.org.uk

These links may also be useful:

Citizens Advice: Coronavirus and what it means for you

Money Advice: Coronavirus and what it means for you

Stepchange – Coronavirus and your finances

Next Litter pick at Grays Beach March 1st

Following on from last Saturday’s massive rubbish haul at the Concrete barges following Storm Dennis, our next event is at Grays Beach on Sunday morning.

Come along and earn you free bacon roll and coffee!

As always old weather appropriate clothes, sturdy footwear and lots of enthusiasm are all you need to bring.

Meeting at Thurrock Yacht Club at 10:30 we will supply “all the plastic rubbish you can pick” and any equipment that you will need!

Future Events:

Sunday 1st March – meeting at Grays Yacht Club RM17 6JF at 10:30 to 12:00 followed by free refreshments in the café. Grays Beachcombers is a monthly Thames21 River Action Group family friendly event suitable for accompanied children 6 years and older.

Thursday 5th March – meeting at Purfleet Railway Station RM19 1PP at 10:30 to 12:30. We will be picking primarily plastic bottles on the other side of the seawall and bringing them back to the road for collection. This event will include climbing fixed ladders over the 2m high seawall so comfortable walking shoes/boots are essential. This is an adult only Thames21 River Action Group event. – New Event

Friday 13th March – meeting at old St Clements Church RM20 4AL at 10:00 to 14:00. We will be picking along to the QE2 Bridge with Coca Cola employees. This event will include up to 4 miles walking so comfortable walking shoes/boots are essential. This is an adult only Thames21 River Action Group event. – New Event

Saturday 14th March – meeting in John Street RM17 6ED at 09:00 to 12:00. This is the regular Orchard Forum back alley clean-up. All welcome especially local residents.

Wednesday 25th March – meeting at old St Clements Church RM20 4AL at 10:30 to 13:30. We will be picking along the Graffiti Wall. This event will include up to 4 miles walking so comfortable walking shoes/boots are recommended. This is an adult only Thames21 River Action Group event and forms part of the Great British Spring Clean.

Wednesday 1st April – meeting at St. Margaret’s Avenue SS17 0SH to pick Mucking Creek at 10:30 to 13:30. This is an adult only Thames21 River Action Group event and forms part of the Great British Spring Clean.

Sunday 5th April – meeting at Grays Yacht Club RM17 6JF at 10:30 to 12:00 followed by free refreshments in the café. Grays Beachcombers is a monthly Thames21 River Action Group family friendly event suitable for accompanied children 6 ye