When we first went into lockdown back in 2020, like many of us, Lucy Charlesworth found herself furloughed and at home. Not one to let the dust settle, Lucy hatched a plan to use her skills to give something back to her local community. Little did she know that this would lead to her starting her own business. We caught up with Lucy to find out more.
A lifeline during lockdown
I have always been a complete foodie and find cooking therapeutic so, during lockdown, I decided to prepare and donate home-cooked portions of vegetable soup and deliver them to local people struggling to access nutritious food.
I wrote out some cards and popped them through all the doors in my street. The response was so lovely and supportive. One lady replied saying that my soups were a real lifeline for her. It was so rewarding to know that I could make a difference and the green shoots of a business idea started to grow from there.
A business is born
By this point, I had decided to register as a food business and put a couple of messages out on local WhatsApp groups as well as posting more cards in other local streets.
More people started to reply saying they would like to try my soups. They loved the idea of having nutritious and healthy home-cooked soups delivered direct to their doorstep, so I put together a weekly menu of five recipes every Friday to see if people would be encouraged to order in advance. And they did! With the support of my cousins in thinking up a name and designing a logo for the business, Lucy’s Ladle was born.
Building a community
Our new social media accounts helped to spread the word more widely and the local response was brilliant! I was starting to build a real community of soup-lovers and making a lot of new friends along the way too.
Many customers were parents who were juggling everything – home schooling, running the house plus their own work on top. Others were people who’d suddenly found themselves working from home, or those having to self-isolate or look after relatives, and who wanted some easy, healthy and varied lunch options.
After a few months I moved things up a gear by starting a monthly menu of plant-based stews, casseroles and hotpots for Autumn/Winter as well as roasted vegetable salads in the Spring for my growing doorstep customer base.
Going for growth
At Easter, I decided to run my business full time. It was a massive decision, but I couldn’t ignore my passion for Lucy’s Ladle, and I’m so excited!
In the summer, I was awarded a £1,000 Business Support Grant from the council for a fridge-freezer to help me expand and I’m now working with a couple of local cafés and farm shops as well as cooking for yoga retreats. I am also trialling ‘Lucy’s Little Ladle’ – a range of organic purées to help wean little ones.
Starting Lucy’s Ladle has been completely life changing. At the start of the pandemic, I could never have imagined such a positive outcome! Long may it continue!