A VOLUNTARY run café providing meals on wheels for the elderly and disabled to combat isolation has been given a top hygiene rating.
The Bus Park Café, formerly the Collingwood Centre, off Market Street, Swadlincote has been awarded five out of a possible five stars by the Food Standards Agency when it was subjected to a surprise inspection last week.
Gill Farrington, chairman of the South Derbyshire Forum charity which runs the café, said: “I am just elated. The girls in here work so hard to make sure it is spotlessly clean and they have everything moved and mopped every night.
“It just means that we know we are doing this right and hope that as we get more funding we can extend the kitchen and extend our Meals on Wheel service.”
Since its revamp, the Bus Park Café has provided Meals on Wheels to members of the community, either disabled or elderly, who may not be able to get out of their homes easily and would welcome a hot meal.
Mrs Farrington added: “It means we can also detect any other problems they may be having and can tackle them with support.”
Sue Shaw, hygiene inspector, visited the premises last Thursday.
Mrs Farrington said: “She thought it was exceptionally clean and was really pleased by our labelling system in the fridges where they are colour coded so we know exactly when they were put in the fridge and when they should be eaten by.
“She said we needed more ventilation in the kitchen and suggested a mesh over the window to allow us to have it open which we have now done.”
It is now the second time the establishment has been awarded five stars.
“(The inspection) was a surprise. We invited them when we opened after the refurbishment so they could tell us what needed to be done so they knew we were up to standard.
“When she did arrive we were in chaos as we were in the middle of our Meals on Wheels.”
Everything the café earns helps subsidise the Meals on Wheels, and it has two paid cooks and volunteers to help with washing up, driving the food, and escorts to deliver the food.
Mrs Farrington added: “We are still looking for volunteers for everything – people to wash up, drivers and escorts to deliver the food
“We want to open the kitchen on Saturday but cannot afford to pay staff so are hoping for more volunteers.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can phone the café on 01283 480603.