International Women's Day 2024 - Eat Well

Feb 19, 2024

At Cloudwater, we have a diverse team consisting of 50% women who are involved in different areas of the business such as production, packaging, warehouse, retail, hospitality, and management. We value and celebrate the achievements of women as it is an essential part of our identity here at Cloudwater. On February 6th, we hosted an extraordinary brew day in honour of IWD 2024 and invited women from various Manchester organisations who have inspired and impacted us and their communities. Participants in the project include Flawd, Manchester Laces, Odd Arts, Eat Well, Isca, and other notable figures like Maxine Peake and Rivca Burns who attended the brew day..It was amazing to have everyone under one roof, and we cherish the result of the day which you might be holding in your hands right now. Enjoy!
 

 

Eat Well MCR is a CIC - who co-ordinate a collective of Chefs and restaurants who cook extra delicious meals each week to people experiencing food poverty across Greater Manchester. Eat Well aim to deliver meals to show the recipients that people care - they are more than just calories.

 

An initiative we care deeply about, we supported Eat Well during lockdown, when they lived at Cloudwater Brewery for the first 2.5 years! Cloudwater’s founder Paul Jones is on the board of trustees. 

 

What can you tell us about Eat Well?

 

Eat Well MCR is a CIC - we co-ordinate our collective of Chefs and restaurants who cook extra delicious meals each week to people experiencing food poverty across Greater Manchester. We aim to deliver meals to show the recipients that people care - they are more than just calories.  (GS)

 

How did Eat Well get started?

 

Eat Well started in March 2022 when Mary-Ellen had to shut her restaurant due to lockdown and instead of putting all her produce in the bin she decided to cook it for NHS workers (2 of her sisters are doctors). Mary-Ellen did a call out on socials to see if any other chefs wanted to join in - and the response was over-whelming. Within a couple of weeks over a thousand hot meals were being delivered each week and there was a whole collective of volunteers building. (GS)

 

What is your favourite thing about Manchester?

 

Generosity of spirit - so many people willing to help others for nothing in return. It’s properly heart warming. (GS)

 

The Eat Well collective has united a community by offering chef-cooked meals, reflecting the kindness and generosity synonymous with Manchester’s evolving food and drink sector. How have you harnessed this community?

Don’t really know! I think because people are generally kind and giving! And want to help! Mary-Ellen has a great reputation - and between us we have quite a lot of mates! We do really try to make joining in with us as easy as possible and we also try to give back via different sorts of events to get involved in during the year. (GS)

 

When you started the WhatsApp group called Emergency Food Response, did you ever think it would evolve to reach the 100,000 chef-cooked meals milestone, and what does this achievement mean to you?

 

Not at all! It’s a huge and brilliant surprise. 

 

Unfortunately it means our meals are still needed - people living in poverty is a huge problem and we know what we do is a drop in the ocean. We have never been about the numbers - but to reach such a massive milestone does show how when people come together and each do a little - huge things can be achieved! (GS)

 

What drives you?

 

Probably mainly our kids. We deliver meals to many families having a hard time. We all have children ourselves and the thought we would ever be faced with a situation where we couldn’t give them something nice to eat at the end of the day is the worst thing we can imagine. (GS)

 

From your experiences so far, why are so many people relying on food banks?

 

We are absolutely not experts in the matter - which is why we have always partnered with other organisations who understand the problems more than us. However, we are definitely getting more people asking for help - be it schools looking after vulnerable families, or individuals desperate for help. Times are tough. (GS)

 

What are you most proud of about living in Manchester?

Manchesters “can do”‘spirit. There is so much creativity and generosity here. Instead of asking why, people ask why the hell not?! (KO)

 

 

Are charities becoming an extension of the welfare state? Is this a sustainable solution?

 

It’s possibly more sustainable than relying on the state… (GS)

It absolutely should not be more sustainable than relying on the state, but sadly with the continued privatization of the public sector and cuts to services, it seems like it’s going that way. (KO)

 

What other initiatives in Manchester do you admire?

 

 

There are so many! I really admire Plattfields Market Garden - it does all of the right things, and so well. I loved the ethos of Peacemeal - and was so sad it couldn’t ride the storm of the crazy energy prices. We have an amazing Whassap group of like-minded groups, where we all share food and info and everyone of them is amazing - Coffee 4 Craig, Open Kitchen, Emmeline’s Pantry, Coalition of Kindness - and a massive number of foodbanks. 

 

You have achieved so much positive impact in a relatively short about of time, what's next for Eat Well?

 

Ooo we have loads of plans! This year we hope to extend our offer a bit to food experiences* - not exactly workshops, but kind of. We also want a focus in the city this Autumn that celebrates everyone we work with and raises money at the same time.. At some point we want our own proper home with a kitchen and garden… (GS)

 

What's your guilty pleasure in Manchester?

 

Ooo - I try not to feel guilty about anything - waste of energy. (GS)

 

What’s your connection to Cloudwater?

 

Paul Jones was one of the first people to reach out to Mary-Ellen to offer his support during lock-down and we lived at Cloudwater for the first 2.5 years! It’s our home-from-home and we will forever be grateful for everything Paul did in the early months - and continues to do so now he is on our Board. (GS)

Proper DIPA

Our 8th DIPA in our  Proper DIPA series is out this week, called Proper DIPA NZ edition, a perfect example of the beautiful things that happen when modern meets tradition.We've infused Southern Cross and NZ Cascade to accentuate the JW Lees yeast strain.This DIPA excels in both body and hop intensity, delivering a hearty hop medley characterised by quintessential NZ hop aromas of white grape, all culminating in an exceptionally dank finish.Enjoyed in the video by JW Lees brewer Matthew and available in our webshop now. 

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