Frank Bothwell helping out at Cranford House School

The incredible work done by local catering company Thomas Franks and it’s founder Frank Bothwell has been recognised in the HRC’s Hospitality Lockdown Hero Awards, for the Feeding Communities initiative – providing 200,000 free, fresh meals to those in most need.  

READ ABOUT THOMAS FRANKS CHARITY WORK HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/the-big-feed-10000-free-meals-14-uk-cities-including-bicester-and-banbury-70-volunteers-and-39-charities-in-1-day-how-oxfordshires-thomas-franks-is-stamping-out-food-poverty/

The nomination and short-list announcement includes Thomas Franks in the Outstanding Business of Lockdown category, and Frank Bothwell in the Outstanding Individual of Lockdown. The winner will be announced in a virtual awards ceremony taking place on Tuesday 22nd September at 4pm.

VOTE for Thomas Franks HERE: https://www.hrc.co.uk/outstanding-business-of-lockdown-shortlist

Feeding Communities

Founded in 2005, Thomas Franks is a privately-owned international catering company, based in Hook Norton, that creates top notch food, sourced locally, for the corporate and independent school sectors, which has grown and expanded to 165 different locations with branches in Malta, Portugal and Ireland.

LISTEN TO OUT PODCAST WITH FRANK BOTHWELL TALKING ABOUT HIS FEEDING COMMUNITIES INITIATIVE AT OXINABOX.CO.UK

Since March, Thomas Franks has provided around 200,000 meals to children who might not otherwise have a meal during the day, to numerous charities and vulnerable groups including children, NHS and frontline workers, the Nightingale Hospital, the homeless and homeless shelters, foodbanks, the over 70s, vulnerable and at-risk individuals. 

Local recipients include surgeries, Katherine House Hospice, South Central Ambulance Service, Ellen Badger Hospital and SOFEA Community Larder in Didcot which feeds vulnerable or disadvantaged people and supplies emergency food packages.

“I am in this for the long run. I am proud of what we have achieved and of all the people who are helping us”

Kitchen Social, A Mayor’s Fund for London charity, which aims to feed the 400,000 children in food poverty in London also approached Frank for help.

“We jumped at this – but had no funding,” Frank says, “so we asked Barings (one of his clients) for help and they immediately donated £25,000 to allow us to feed 10,000 children. We also began partnerships with the Grace Foundation and The Long Table.

Delivering meals

At first the Thomas Franks Foundation covered the average cost of £2.50 per meal. But as the need spiralled, Frank asked his current clients to help finance the scheme and secured £50,000 in a day, enough to feed 20,000 NHS employees. Since then the money has continued to pour in from his contacts who were all keen to help.

VOTE FOR Frank Bothwell HERE: https://www.hrc.co.uk/outstanding-individual-of-lockdown-shortlist

“I am just sorry I am late to this,” he said. “I kick myself for not doing this on a bigger scale 15 years ago. And while running charitable projects is the hardest thing I have ever done, it just feels right and is so rewarding.” 

“It can be done. It has got to change. And yes industry and commerce is about making money, but its also about giving back”

Funding from clients such as Barings, Gymshark, Wolseley, Paddy Power, Betfair and independent schools such as Radnor House, Mount Kelly, Hall Grove School and many more, has since increased and more money comes in each week which is then allocated to specific new projects.

And despite lockdown restrictions being eased, the company is still going strong with their charitable donations.

YOU CAN DONATE BY CLICKING ON THE THOMAS FRANKS BANNER AT THE TOP OF THE OXINABOX.CO.UK WEBSITE  

So going forward, how does Frank see the initiative panning out? “I am in this for the long run,” he says. “I am proud of what we have achieved and of all the people who are helping us to achieve this, which is why we want to continue. It feels right to do so, even if the need has really surprised me, and it’s been so great to see people coming together to help out.”

READ ABOUT HIS FIRST CHARITY PROJECT HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/oxfordshire-firm-thomas-franks-provides-1500-free-nhs-meals-a-day-and-6000-a-week-for-vulnerable-children/

Whilst on furlough, many Thomas Franks employees have volunteered, for the Thomas Franks Foundation.

“In my opinion, food poverty amongst children and families has been exacerbated by this current crisis yet there are so many wonderful people and charities working so hard to help and do something about it,” Frank adds.

“It can be done. It has got to change. And yes industry and commerce is about making money, but its also about giving back. I spent 15 years building up this business but this pandemic has only amplified what needs to be done. I cannot just sit here and do nothing,” Frank says.

“There should be a solution where fresh, nutritious food is available to those who need it, along with the funding to make that happen. And that’s our aim – to to eradicate food poverty. It shouldn’t exist in the 21st century in one of the most affluent countries in the world. Providing some kindness and meals is the least we can do.”

His wife Emma, Chair of The Thomas Franks Foundation, adds: “We are working hard to provide nutritious meals for those who most need our support at this time. Feeding children and young adults in difficult situations and food poverty is our priority. With your generous support, we can continue to assist those most in need and widen our scope further.”

To find out more go to: https://www.thomasfranks.com

For more on HRC’s Hospitality Lockdown Hero Awards go to https://www.hrc.co.uk/hospitality-lockdown-hero-awards

To vote got to https://www.hrc.co.uk/outstanding-individual-of-lockdown-shortlist and https://www.hrc.co.uk/outstanding-business-of-lockdown-shortlist

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