Frontline stories: From the CEO of The Nelson Trust


It is both humbling and inspiring to be surrounded by staff whose energy seems fuelled by a desire to support those less fortunate and more vulnerable than most. To them it is work as normal with just a few more hurdles and obstacles to overcome. If services can’t be delivered on the usual delivery mechanisms the attitude is: we will reinvent them. To see them filled with such enthusiasm makes me feel grateful to be part of this wonderful organisation.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than in our catering enterprises, The Clean Plate and The Sober Parrot. When the guidance around social distancing came into place, we decided to close them before it was mandatory and this was taking our responsibility to the wider community and the NHS seriously. The enterprises were the only part of the organisation we had to shut down. Our Women’s Community Services and Residential Rehabilitation Services continued with the characteristics described above.

However, we have reopened The Clean Plate and The Sober Parrot to become part of a community response to something that is bigger than us. Partnering with The Long Table and the Diocese of Gloucester through the Feeding the 5,000 campaign, we have been preparing and delivering thousands of meals to those who are vulnerable and isolated, elderly people and others who, through no fault of their own, are suddenly thrown into poverty. Individuals who as a charity we wouldn’t normally come into contact with. A significant proportion of meals have been going to NHS staff on the frontline and of course we are supporting our clients who are socially isolated too.

Despite the tragedies and challenges associated with Covid-19, of which there are many, there is hope too. The message to our volunteers in early recovery who are part of this initiative and our clients who are yet to embark on this journey is together we can overcome anything. The staff at Nelson Trust already know this. That’s what makes them the best group of people I have ever worked with.

John Trolan
CEO The Nelson Trust

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