Taphouse TV Dinners
How we worked with the Old Abbey Taphouse during the COVID-19 crisis to create and launch a project distributing free hot meals in the community of Hulme, Manchester.
At the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis we were approached by frequent collaborators The Old Abbey Taphouse to help them design a service to feed our local community during what we could see was going to be one of the most challenging times in recent memory.
Taphouse TV Dinners was the result of this work. Over a few weeks we recruited renter’s union ACORN to do volunteer delivery, and the Gaskell Garden project gathered free unpicked fruit and veg resulting from the lack of agricultural labour stemming from Brexit.
Our contribution was to create a service design and data management system to run the project, bearing in mind we were working with ever changing volunteers, we didn’t know what food we would get week to week, and we had little idea at the outset who had what cooking equipment in their house.
We created a service design for the project showing how each request for food would work end to end, how we would match food requests to delivery people on bike or car, how the meals would be packaged up in the kitchen and clearly labelled for delivery, and how we would handle allergies and the like. We then made an AirTable database to provide all the wiring and simple one page static site to get information out about the service, and Jazz drew a cute logo. So basically we successfully recreated Deliveroo, but for free, using out the box software and with a team of volunteers!
This project really encapsulates the benefits of hyperlocal local community tech production – in the end our contribution was probably a couple of weeks work total, because we were in the right place at the right time with such a great range of community partners we knew already. This allowed us to work quickly and decisively. To date this has served over 7,000 meals, for free, directly to people’s doors – and all without any financial support at all from the local council or institutions.
“I struggle to cook meals because of my health conditions. During lockdown I felt isolated and having a meal cooked for me made me feel included and part of the community. This service also helped me stay connected with others in the community, I was able to cope with loneliness because of it as the young people who delivered the meals would stay awhile and chat with me while observing the social distancing rules. I felt safe knowing that I can turn to them if there was a problem.” – TV Dinners Customer
We’d love to find funding to create a service pattern and some more robust software for this. We’ve learned loads in the 2 years since it started and our AirTable solution is looking long in the tooth. Let us know if you’d like to help us get funding to reproduce this huge success in other areas.Find out more