A festive food initiative in Bury St Edmunds provided 90 heat-at-home Christmas meals and hampers to help support people spending Christmas day alone.

The initiative was passionately driven by Abbeycroft Leisure’s Explore Outdoor Coordinator, Frank Carn-Pryor, with funding from Bury St Edmunds Town Council, support from West Suffolk College and generous donations from many local businesses showing fantastic community spirit.
The heat-at-home Christmas meals were designed by Frank’s brother, local chef James Carn, pre-cooked and packaged at West Suffolk College with the help of some of their chefs and volunteers including local MP Jo Churchill, then delivered by volunteers, many of which were Town Councillors to 90 local people, who had been referred to them from partners.

Town Councillor Jo Rayner, Ward Member for Abbeygate Ward said:

“I was really pleased to bring this initiative to the Town Council to support our community during the festive period. Abbeycroft Leisure have been an amazing partner and I am completely heartened by the interest and support this has received from businesses across the town.”

Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds said:

“Local projects born of bright ideas are always the best, agencies working together driven by Frank and James’s enthusiasm have delivered this fantastic project, my particular thanks to the farmers, local producers and traders who helped support this and other great projects across the constituency. After the year we have been through, it is heartening to see that our community spirit is as strong as ever.”

Abbeycroft Leisure’s Frank Carn-Pryor said:

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the local business community and so grateful to the Town Council for funding this initiative, which has made a huge difference to many people’s Christmas.

Our thanks also to the many partners that have put us in touch with the right people who need the help, such as Bury Women’s Refuge, Gatehouse Home Store and Foodbank and West Suffolk Council.”

Head of the Culinary Arts Academy at West Suffolk College, Matthew Goulding, said,

“We were approached to work with partners on this project and thought it was a great idea. As a college, we have a responsibility to support the local community. As well as creating meals for people who are living on their own, we have also made up small food hampers with sponsored produce from local suppliers.

Local chef James has also produced a number of affordable, delicious meals to try at home, which have been shared on social media by all the organisations involved.

These can all be found here www.acleisure.com/familycooking.


Photo above includes:
Front row: L-R MP Jo Churchill, Cllr Jo Rayner
Middle Row: Bury St Edmunds Mayor Cllr Peter Thompson

Back Row: L-R Matthew Goulding, Andrew Adamson (Executive Director of Curriculum, West Suffolk College) Dr Nikos Savvos (Chief Executive, West Suffolk College), James Carn, Frank Carn-Pryor.