WHILE government measures to suppress the spread of coronavirus have closed every venue, cafe, restaurant, hotel and bar in the city to customers, there remains a low level of important activity.

Businesses have made a sharp pivot over the last month. In some cases, empty dining rooms now provide a backdrop as small teams work to make deliveries to people at home.

Local bakeries, delis and grocery shops are fully stocked each day, with some, like Kothel on the Crow Road, offering care packages to vulnerable people in the community.

We’ve been collectively told to suspend normal life in the hope that hospitals will be better able to deal with the influx of patients. It’s a grim scenario, placing health workers at the frontline.

A couple of weeks ago, inspired by local acts of kindness, Glasgowist asked readers to support a fundraiser to provide meals for health workers and social care staff.

This was as much a gesture of solidarity as it was a realisation that the demands of their job will be exacerbated by new scenarios around shopping for messages and picking up food before or after shifts.

Lots of people across the city are playing their part in supporting the NHS beyond adhering to lockdown instructions. Glasgow Taxis are providing free transport for health workers funded by donations.

Restaurants that are still open are remembering to keep in touch with their local hospital. Piatto in Shawlands has a ‘pay it forward’ scheme for people to pre-pay meals for NHS staff living in the local community to enjoy for free.

Meanwhile, cultural complex SWG3 in the West End has successfully funded a campaign called ViseUp to support the production of PPE at The Innovation School at Kelvinside Academy.

In just five days, the venue raised over £58,000, which will translate into a supply of laser-cut visors for frontline NHS workers.

Andrew Fleming-Brown, founder of SWG3, said, “The creation of ViseUp is to bring all of our collective efforts under one roof. There is a huge number of people and organisations involved with this particular project, but our mission is a shared one and very simple – to make and deliver visors to frontline staff as quickly as humanly possible.”

This week, thanks to donations from readers, we were able to join forces with Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn on Bath Street to send 50 meals to workers in the Accident and Emergency department and staff of the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Infirmary.

Tiki have been making deliveries since the start of lockdown closed the bar and restaurant.

Owner Ian McComb started through a connection with Monklands Hospital and then expanded free contactless drop-offs of meals to departments in Glasgow hospitals and other emergency services.

Tiki has delivered more than 600 meals so far. They send out a mixture of their most popular Thai dishes – green chicken curry, massaman beef and red tofu curry.

Over the last few weeks, staff at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Air Ambulance crew, scientists at the Virology Centre and the NHS Transport Team have been fed.

Ian told me his kitchen is currently staffed by workers from Tiki Bar and his other business, Bowlarama on Glassford Street. “The response has been brilliant and it’s been good to keep us busy and be helpful. We get a lot of staff in as customers normally and it’s great to lift their spirits a bit. They were buzzing to get a good feed”.

There’s tough times ahead, but look around for signs that, as a city, we remain resolute in our commitment to each other. The NHS workers, social care, essential workers – our neighbours – deserve all the support we can muster.

You can find Tiki Bar’s fundraiser at gofundme.com/f/help-us-to-keep-our-nhs-workers-well-fed


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