Chef Adam Fargin is leading the preparation of meals ©AELTC/Bob Martin

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has opened its Wingfield kitchen to prepare and package 200 hot meals a day for distribution to those in need within the neighbouring boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth.

The organisation says the move is part of its efforts to support the local community in its recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The meals are being prepared by Food & Drink at Wimbledon, the AELTC’s year-round catering partner, led by executive chef Adam Fargin.

Food surplus distribution charity City Harvest, whom the AELTC has a long-standing relationship, then distribute the medals to those in need.

"It’s wonderful to be able to support our long-standing partner, City Harvest, who help to feed vulnerable people in the local area," said Fargin.

"We hope the worthy recipients enjoy some of our specially created dishes, which would have been served up at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon – we’re glad they’ve been put to good use."

The meal programme is currently planned to run for the next three months.

The AELTC said that in addition to the meal distribution programme a donation of funds has been made to City Harvest by the Wimbledon Foundation – the charity of the AELTC and The Championships.

The donation is aimed at supporting City Harvest, which has provided more than 1.5 million meals during lockdown to date.

A total of 200 hot meals a day are being packaged for distribution ©AELTC/Bob Martin
A total of 200 hot meals a day are being packaged for distribution ©AELTC/Bob Martin

The programme and donation are the latest measures introduced by the AELTC, who were forced to cancel Wimbledon for the first time since 1945.

"Since the cancellation of The Championships, we have worked hard to make a difference to those in our local community and beyond as the long period of recovery from the coronavirus begins," said Richard Lewis CBE, AELTC chief executive.

"Many groups across our communities are without access to proper food, and so, with no Championships to cook for, we have repurposed our Wingfield kitchen to provide 200 hot meals per day, which are being distributed across Merton and Wandsworth.

"We would like to pay tribute to the invaluable efforts of both Food & Drink at Wimbledon, our year-round catering partner, and City Harvest, our distribution partner, as we work with them to play a small part in helping our community through this time of crisis."

The AELTC says it will continue to develop additional ways to provide support, and to show its gratitude to those on the front line of the response to the coronavirus pandemic throughout the course of 2020 and in the build-up to next year’s Championships.

Next year’s Wimbledon is scheduled to take place from June 28 to July 11.