As part of our Cared for by Karshare series, we spoke to Esther, the Project Coordinator at Caring in Bristol. Her work primarily focuses on their food aid service ‘Cheers Drive’, running the day to day logistics and working alongside their group of amazing volunteers. Caring in Bristol have been making use of a Karshare van throughout the pandemic to support their services across the city.
Karshare: Hi Esther! To start off, tell us a little bit about Caring in Bristol.
Esther: Caring in Bristol is working to solve homelessness in Bristol. We believe that every person deserves safe, good-quality housing and that by working together as a city, we can make this a reality. In practice, this means working in imaginative and creative ways with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, with the public and community partners to bring about lasting change in Bristol and beyond.
Karshare: What is your Cheers Drive project all about?
Esther: Cheers Drive was borne out of a need to keep people fed during Covid-19. The government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme, which made hotel rooms, hostels, and private accommodation available for everyone experiencing street homelessness, and the need for social distancing meant that people would need food delivered to their door.
To respond to this issue, we linked up with Josh Eggleton who runs a number of restaurants in Bristol, and devised a system where we could utilise the skills and networks of chefs and suppliers whose businesses had been disrupted and deliver healthy, nutritious meals safely to people who needed it.
Since then we have delivered over 140,000 meals to over 700 individuals, and are continuing apace as we head into a difficult winter lockdown.
Karshare: How has the Karshare van supported your service across Bristol?
Esther: Karshare approached us and generously offered us the use of one of their fleet of vans to help facilitate our Cheers Drive deliveries! In the short time we’ve had the van, we’ve used it to deliver over 700 meals, making a real difference here in Bristol.
Karshare: Other than car sharing, what is your favourite sharing idea?
Esther: Community libraries! Perhaps not the most shiny or novel idea but libraries are a vital part of our infrastructure and we should be doing everything we can to preserve them as a space and means to share knowledge.
Karshare: How do you think people can make a positive difference in Bristol?
Esther: Everyone has something to give, be it volunteering your time, money, or skills to a local organisation, or even at a micro-level simply checking in on your neighbours. It’s been a pretty grim year but these acts of care and compassion – irrespective of size – really do make all the difference.
This winter, a donation of £21 could support access for one person to Caring in Bristol’s Caring at Christmas project, providing them with compassion, warmth, food, medical support and care at one of the hardest times of year.
If you are a health worker, volunteer, charity or care worker in need of a vehicle, we have a fleet of cars available to support you. Please contact us!