A FOOD wholesaler kept restaurants’ cash flow going through the coronavirus lockdown as well as donating to people in need.

Bournemouth-based Country Fare Foodservice helped its customers trade as community shops during the period when 84 per cent of the UK’s hospitality businesses were closed.

At the same time, it aided care homes and charities through donations.

Director Gavin Millward said: “t’s vital to support each other during this time and those on the front line and the businesses trying to survive required urgent help to ensure the future of local hospitality.

“We felt that it was our moral obligation and duty to do what we can to help.”

Andy Lennox, director of restaurant Zim Braai and founder of the campaign group Wonky Table, said: “Country Fare’s initiative to provide veg and fruit boxes through designated restaurants at the beginning of the pandemic and onwards, was a much needed lifeline for our customer base as supermarkets adjusted to their increased demands it also helped us keep relevant as our restaurants were closed.”

Tom Cooper of Barefaced Brewing, a craft brewery based in Bournemouth Triangle, said: “The fruit and veg boxes Country Fare were providing to us over lockdown were a vital lifeline to those in isolation and were critical to helping our cashflow whilst we waited for our wholesale trade to return.”

Country Fare sent boxes of luxury biscuits to key workers at Dorset County Council and in care homes. It also partnered with churches who were donating food boxes to vulnerable families, helping fulfil orders of more than 7,000 non-profit fruit and vegetable boxes a week.

Catering manager Sue Lloyd said: “It was lovely to have you get instantly involved and see first-hand how we’ve managed to distribute the food boxes every week.”

Country Fare has launched a campaign called #BounceBackBetter, which will help community projects while providing services to restaurants, hospitals, care homes, pubs and hotels in Dorset and Hampshire.