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Gloucestershire Business News

Punchline Business and Community Champion: The Sober Parrot helps feed the community

Cheltenham community enterprise café The Sober Parrot has joined the Feeding the 5,000 project to help provide homecooked, healthy meals to those in need during the coronavirus crisis.

Following the Government guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic, The Sober Parrot had to close its doors on Friday, March 20 along with every other café and restaurant in Cheltenham.

Unlike other cafes and restaurants in the spa town, The Sober Parrot is an alcohol-free live entertainment venue at the heart of the recovery community.

The Nelson Trust, a Stroud-based charity who runs The Sober Parrot, challenged the team to come up with a way of getting food to the most vulnerable in our community.

Sam Tribe, manager of The Sober Parrot, said: "I was filled with a mixture of emotions. I was so honoured and privileged to be asked to take on such a responsibility, but at the same time, I was fully aware of the enormity of the task. My biggest challenge was to work out the best way to distribute meals. We have no fleet of vans, or drivers to drive them. 

"With everywhere and everyone on lockdown, it was imperative that we were able to get food to people's doorsteps."

So The Sober Parrot joined in with another local Community Interest Company, The Long Table, and started providing meals for people in the community during lockdown.

And that's why the business and charity has earned the title of Punchline's latest Business and Community Champion, an initiative back by the Gloucestershire local enterprise partnership GFirst LEP and the Growth Hub business centres.

The Feeding the 5,000 project is led by The Long Table, a community based kitchen and restaurant in Brimscombe, and supported by the Diocese of Gloucester.

Tom Herbert, co-founder of The Long Table, said: "We've been neighbours of The Nelson Trust in Stroud for a few years and so know each other well, with people on our team who have come through The Nelson Trust programme.

"When The Sober Parrot offered to join in with the project, keeping the county fed with ready meals, we were delighted. They've been professional, enthusiastic and brilliant and have made over 2,500 meals already and delivered 1,600 out to individuals at home as well as providing meals for NHS staff at Cheltenham General."

Sam added, "The Parrot has an amazing team and we were able to get to work almost immediately with The Long Table and a great partnership was formed.

"From the feedback we have received so far, one quote that stood out to me is: 'I just wanted to thank you for our meals today. What you are doing is making a massive difference. I know my family can eat this week so from the bottom of my heart thank you. Honestly, I sat in the kitchen and cried 'cause I have food for everyone now.'

"Getting healthy and nutritious meals to the most vulnerable is the mission and that must continue during the entirety of this crisis and beyond if necessary," Sam said.

Sam took over as manager of The Sober Parrot in August 2019. 

He said: "Closing was such a sad day. The hardest thing about not being open is not seeing all of our wonderful customers.

"So many showed such loyalty to The Parrot and we strived to repay them with yummy food and drink, served in a wonderful atmosphere. We also miss our volunteers during this time, we know that coming and working a shift at the café was for many their highlight of the week.

"When this is all over, we will hopefully be able to reopen again and provide Cheltenham with the warm and welcoming alcohol-free café that everyone knows and loves."

For just £25 you (or someone you're donating the meals to) will receive seven meals that are delivered to the door safely.

To order or for more information, please ring 01242 323693 or email

Punchline's Business and Community Champion Awards are sponsored by:

 GFirst LEP 

 The Growth Hub Gloucestershire 

Send us your inspiring stories - you don't have to write them, just tell us about them - and we will do the rest. Email:  

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