20,000 free meals will be delivered to the most vulnerable people across Kilmarnock and East Ayrshire as part of the Lift Up Your Hearts community fund created by Scottish businesswoman, Marie Macklin CBE.

Marie has pledged an emergency cash fund of £100,000 to assist the communities closest to her heart and has arranged for these meals to be delivered to those who need them most in partnership with local food supplier, Braehead Foods and Kilmarnock-based charity, Centrestage. It is expected that up to 1,400 meals will be delivered every week from now on, meaning that partnership will be able to maintain deliveries for up 14 weeks.

The meal packs will be supplied by Kilmarnock-based Braehead Foods, one of Scotland’s largest independent food wholesalers, and will be delivered by Centrestage, a charity that supports people across Ayrshire.

Each pack will be made up of ingredients from local suppliers and will include a portion of fresh homemade soup, a homemade protein meal, morning rolls and a pint of milk.

The Lift Up Your Hearts fund was set up when Marie saw first-hand how the coronavirus pandemic is directly affecting the community of her home town, Kilmarnock, and to encourage businesses and their local communities to come together through this crisis.

Marie Macklin CBE is Founder and Executive Chair of the HALO Urban Regeneration Company. The HALO, the first phase of which is currently under construction in Kilmarnock, will create a net zero carbon commercial, educational, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter in the town, fuelled by renewable energy.

Marie said: “It is a very proud day for not just me but everyone at the HALO to see so many people come together to support the Lift Up Your Hearts campaign which we hope will help local communities that need it the most during these unprecedented times.

“I’d like to thank the team at Braehead Foods and everyone at Centrestage for their support and dedication to making the first deliveries of these 20,000 meals happen so quickly. I am confident that together we will help as many people as possible get through these difficult times.”

Craig Stevenson, Managing Director at Braehead Foods, said: “When Marie called me to ask if we would be involved in this project I didn’t have to think about it; as a Kilmarnock business, it’s important for us to be able to support other local businesses, charities and the community at such a challenging time.”

Paul Mathieson, CEO at Centrestage said, “We will do all that we can to support anyone across East Ayrshire that needs our help during these times. Please call us if you need any food or basic essentials or just want to chat with a member of our team. We’re all in this together.”

The Lift Up Your Hearts package of support will also provide support for local small businesses throughout East Ayrshire suffering hardship. This includes:

  • Setting up a Facebook Group aimed at vulnerable people and older people or their carers, offering the opportunity for them to make contact with each other and share their experiences
  • The establishment of an emergency COBRA-style business group to assist small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) with potential advice and funding.

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