AN ‘INSPIRATIONAL’ chip shop which has been giving away free food to people in need throughout the pandemic has been praised after it won a kindness award.
Fish Plus in Bilton Road became the first winner of Leamington law firm Wright Hassall’s 175 acts of kindness initiative, after it was nominated by members of the public.
Andreas Kattou, who owns Fish Plus with his mother Angela, has supported a number of charities throughout his career – so instantly knew he needed to help those in his community when the Covid-19 pandemic began.
When the chippy was forced to close its doors for the first lockdown, Andreas and his then three-year-old daughter bagged up 1,000 kilos of potatoes to give away to those in need.
Then when the shop was able to re-open under government guidelines, it donated free meals to children, made contributions to Rugby Foodbank, and even set up a stall in the town centre offering free battered pigs in blankets and chips to the whole community in December.
Andreas has now launched a ‘Sharing is Caring’ scheme, giving customers the opportunity to pay for meals for those in need.
He said: “It was such a nice surprise to be selected as this month’s Acts of Kindness winner – it’s something I never expected. It’s even better that the prize is a charity donation which I hope to give to Rugby Foodbank, which provides such a vital service to the town.
“I’ve always worked hard to support others. I began supporting charities around 13 years ago after my cousin died of a heart attack and I started raising money in his honour to give something back to the charities that supported him.
“Then a few years ago we lost my nephew at just one month old, so again I wanted to raise money to give something back.
“When the pandemic began I didn’t think twice about supporting my local community. You don’t always realise just how many people need an extra bit of help.
“I know people who have lost really good jobs because of the pandemic, and those who used to regularly donate to local foodbanks now rely on them to survive.
“Sharing is Caring is the latest scheme we’ve launched and we’ve already had a lot of support. It gives customers the chance to pay for extra meals which those in need can choose from to feed themselves and their family.
“We have some fantastic customers, so I’m sure it’s something we’ll see grow even further.”
The initiative was launched to celebrate Wright Hassall’s 175th anniversary. Each month, employees select a winner from the public’s nominations to receives £175 to donate to a charity of their choice.
Michelle Hughes of Wright Hassall said: “Andreas and the whole team at Fish Plus are a real inspiration and very worthy winners.”