20 December 2017
For 17 years, Nick Makris never uttered a word in public. The autistic teenager from Levenshulme in Manchester has been a selective mute since birth, unable to speak due to severe social anxiety.
“The FareShare food "...has made an amazing impact on the children. The fact they get to interact with people of a different generation is fantastic for them."”
Serene Phillips, Grange Special School Teacher
Every Wednesday, Nick and his class at Grange Special School in Manchester spend the morning preparing a lunch with food from FareShare and then take it to the Gorton Day Centre where they serve up to 30 elderly people (many of whom have their own health issues including dementia).
Because of the social bonds formed over the lunches, Nick has finally started to speak. With a broad smile on his face he slowly tells journalist Joe Shute what he enjoys most about the cooking classes: “making old people happy”.
Serene Phillips, the 34-year-old key stage 5 teacher, first approached FareShare with the idea for supporting the class last January and says the food FareShare provides each week has been a lifeline: “We have got a brilliant relationship with them,” she says. “It has enabled us to keep the class going and it has made an amazing impact on the children. The fact they get to interact with people of a different generation is fantastic for them.”
Last year FareShare redistributed 800 tonnes of food in Greater Manchester to 200 deserving organising such as The Grange. These include school breakfast clubs, day care centres, homeless shelters and domestic violence refuges.
FareShare is a beneficiary of this year’s Telegraph’s Christmas Charity Appeal. Click here to make a donation.