CIC Directors Heather and Eli Thompson were announced winners of the Produced in Kent Community Legends Award at a virtual ceremony on 11 May 2021. Organised as a showcase of the very best products and food and drink businesses across Kent and Medway, the Taste of Kent Awards are held annually.
The nomination recognised Heather and Eli’s long-standing dedication and contribution to the area, stemming back to 2001 when they first moved to Margate and committed to assisting with its regeneration. Also cited was their generous support for the community during the pandemic.
In common with many businesses, Olby’s was impacted when government restrictions caused venues to close. Despite these challenges, Heather and Eli helped Medway African Caribbean Association (MACA) to raise funds for and set up a project which would deliver food to vulnerable and isolated African Caribbean elders across Kent and Medway during the pandemic and beyond it.
Started in May 2020, and part funded by Martin Lewis Charity Trust, Home from Home is the first African Caribbean Meals on Wheels delivery service. The provision operates twice weekly and is managed by Heather in partnership with MACA. In September 2020, Olby’s planned a Covid-safe group meeting, meal and healthy eating talk for those receiving Home from Home support. Heather and Eli said: “It was so lovely to see them smile, chat and enjoy each other’s company after being isolated for six months.”
Also created during the first lockdown was Olby’s Heart of Gold, a Facebook campaign launched on 10 April 2020, asking customers to nominate incredible people who deserved a treat. The prize was a two-course Sunday roast and two children’s meals for two winners every Sunday. However, Heather and Eli were so moved by the nominations received in the first week that all 34 nominees received free roasts from Olby’s on Sunday 19 April.
Responding to the announcement at the Taste of Kent Awards, Heather and Eli said:
“Absolutely delighted to have won the Kent Community Legend Award from Produced in Kent. Thanks so much to everyone for nominating us – it means so much. Huge congrats to fellow winners Emma Barnes of Emma’s Kitchen and Paul & Rani Babra of Karara.”
Watch the Taste of Kent Awards ceremony here
Find more about MACA and Home from Home here