Like millions of other people, Lucy Charlesworth found herself furloughed in the first lockdown. So, with unexpected spare time on her hands, she decided to channel her inner-foodie and do something for the local community.
Offering to donate home-cooked portions of vegetable soup by delivering cards through doors on her street, Lucy hoped to give people nutrition they might not be able to access. But what started as a noble gesture soon began picking up steam.
Lucy wasn’t always destined to deliver soups. She spent the previous 12 years leading marketing and sales for a video company called Quite Frankly Productions. She was on business in New York when the pandemic began to get very real, forcing her trip to be cut short. Then came furlough.
The transition to soups was remarkably seamless and began by creating recipes for a neighbour with various health issues. The results went down so well that Lucy was commissioned to make ten portions per week, which soon increased to twenty.
By posting a couple of messages in neighbourly Whatsapp groups and delivering more cards through letterboxes, word began to spread, and more and more people signed up.
By then, Lucy was already thinking further ahead with a short menu of five recipes every Friday to establish an appetite for pre-ordering. Suddenly, she had a routine: posting menus on Friday, taking requests that day, cooking on Saturday and delivering on Sunday.
The concept was a hit and, with help from an online nutrition course to come up with more menu ideas, then having a logo designed by two cousins, Lucy’s Ladle was born. Talking about her souped-up success, Lucy says, “I would never have imagined it happening a year ago… but long may it continue!”
Does this mean her sales and marketing days are done? Not quite. After being taken off furlough, Lucy consults for Quite Frankly a few days a month, while her background in promotion is serving her well in growing Lucy’s Ladle.
As well as building a community of soup-lovers and making new friends along the way, Lucy enjoys helping people out when it comes to nutrition. That could be anyone from parents juggling home-schooling and work, to professionals adapting to a new way of life, or anyone who needs to self-isolate.
“I find cooking therapeutic, and it’s great that people love the idea of nutritious and healthy veg soup, as well as the convenience of having it delivered freshly made”, she says.
Lucy is keeping up the momentum with a monthly menu of stews, casseroles and curries for the people of Reigate and Redhill. After moving here ten years ago, she’s not only a big fan of the area: she loves being part of – and contributing to – a strong and caring community.
We’ll chef’s kiss to that!