A message from Richard, Flo’s Chair 17th April 2020

To the community of Florence Park and beyond, 

Flo’s is still here! Over the course of the last month we, as everyone has, have changed what Flo’s does to adapt to the ‘new normal’ – still providing warmth alongside the essential services to the community. 

I’ve been Flo’s Chair of Trustees since February this year. I’m very proud to be part of Flo’s journey and especially when I consider the awe-inspiring work of our fantastic team, trustees and volunteers over the last two months. I salute you all. 

Today I’m writing to you for two reasons.

Firstly, we’d like your support in order to support others. Today we’re launching an online giving appeal to support our free meal initiative and to help counteract the loss of income we’re facing. Please consider supporting us, so that we can keep helping those who need it, as well as ensuring a future for Flo’s when this is all over. 

No one should face the virus alone. We’re providing at least 60 free meals per week to those who need it most. People stuck at home with health conditions, the elderly over 70, the vulnerably housed and single isolated parents. We’ve teamed up with other local organisations to form the OX4 Free Food Crew – together we’re providing 140 free meals per week.  You can refer someone here. 

Any amount you can spare will genuinely help. Please also spread the word among your friends and neighbours. 

Secondly, to update you all about what we’re doing:

The community midwives are now seeing more and more parents-to-be as GP surgeries have closed for face-to-face appointments. The midwives now have more space at Flo’s in order to allow for social distancing. It is vital that pregnant women have to visit the hospital as little as possible so we are accommodating them here.

Flo’s nursery remains open for children of key workers – our nursery team have done an amazing job at providing safe online support and fun resources as well as the normal friendly and caring physical space for those that attend.

Flo’s cafe are cooking up nourishing and delicious meals in our cafe kitchen (our family loved last week’s lasagne and salad!). Not only the 60 free meals for the most vulnerable and isolated as mentioned above, but also for everyone else. The public can pre-order and collect the affordable meals in a safe way – a crucial way to keep up the spirits, support parents working from home, and sustain Flo’s. The menu changes weekly  and full details on what we’re doing to keep people safe is here.

The refill shop has stayed open thanks to the amazing dedication of a mostly voluntary team who staff, stock and clean the shop- all whilst keeping a social distance and following new hygiene measures. We’ve been grateful for the popular demand and have started to open more days per week . The shop has also increased its range to include flour, dried apricots, nuts and soon olive oil- this will mean you can do more of your weekly shop in a local, safe environment.

By donating to or spending money with Flo’s at this time you’re supporting the local economy – services like ours keep money where it’s needed and the money you spend with us goes straight back into our community work. 

Thank you to Annie, Makena, Helen M, Davide (our new and excellent chef), the nursery team of Tanja, Lucy, Lea, Melina, Laura, Lisa and Helen O, the newly joined Tania Muasa, Sam, all of the Refill Shop volunteers and also to our trustees for their guidance, calmness and support. You’ve helped keep us going – emotionally, actually and financially. 

Stay safe. 

Richard 

Richard Hadfield, Chair of Trustees 

Updates on areas of work:

MIDWIVES: The midwives are currently still offering clinics at Flo’s, and several clinics you may have previously received at GP practices are now happening at Flo’s. Please call 01865 779284 to find out about your appointments and gain further advice.

NEW HOT FOOD TAKE AWAY (pre order only):  Flo’s are offering a new pre-order and collect service offering hot meals, cakes and drinks on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. You can order here. We are operating a very reduced staffing service with social distancing in place for the 2 staff. Collection is at allotted times only with a one-in-one out policy. Additional hygiene precautions are in use.

REFILL SHOP – NEW TIMES : To meet demand from people to shop local in the calmer atmosphere of our community hub  we are extending our refill opening hours.  We are now open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 12:30-6pm. We have increased our hygiene precautions and social distancing approach- operating on a 1 in 1 out basis and asking customers and staff to wash their hands between every customer. Servers wear masks and aprons.

NURSERY FOR KEY WORKERS: The nursery has been largely closed in line with Government regulations. Children of key workers, continue to receive childcare at the nursery. Eligible Parents have been contacted directly. If you have questions about the nursery, please email nursery@flosoxford.org.uk

COMMUNITY SUPPORT: The community play space is not open for the public for drop in stay and play. All events and groups have been cancelled. We have partnered with the OX4 Free Food Crew to provide free meals for those who need additional support during the pandemic. Please see here for full details and how to refer someone or yourself.

Local neighbourhood support is being provided by the Oxford Together programme- you can email florencepark@oxfordtogether.org to find out how you can volunteer, or if you know a household who may need some support with shopping/ getting phone calls etc.

COURSES and ROOM HIRE:  are suspended until further notice. Queries about cancellations or refunds contact info@flosoxford.org.uk

We welcome your support and info about how we can best serve our community.

Many thanks  and keep safe and well.