Rochdale Soup Kitchen supports Jolly Josh families during lockdown

Date published: 15 April 2020

The Rochdale Soup Kitchen has been providing support for vulnerable families who use the Jolly Josh inclusive group.

Regular deliveries of essential food parcels will be made to the isolated users of the Jolly Josh family, whose children are classed as vulnerable or high-risk.

The soup kitchen has received many donations during lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including a generous donation from the Yorkshire Street Marks and Spencer store before the opening of the new Riverside store.

Jolly Josh founder, Carole Kelly said: “We are thrilled to announce that The Soup Kitchen have kindly agreed to provide this support. The parcels are very much appreciated by our families.

“It will bring huge relief to them knowing that they can shield their loved ones, stay at home and stay safe.

“Our families can choose to make a donation to The Soup Kitchen but this is not essential. Jolly Josh has applied for an emergency fund; should this be successful, we will use this to cost the project.

“Thank you to Marylin Jones and Vida Slater at The Soup Kitchen, those who enable the group to function and, of course, those who donate.”

Named after their young son, Jolly Josh was started in September 2017 by Carole and James Kelly, of Wardle, after discovering there were no groups for young disabled children in Rochdale. At the age of six months, Josh was confirmed to have ‘extensive brain damage’ due to the genetic condition Mitochondrial Disease, which causes mutations in mitochondria, vital to every cell in the body.

The stay-and-play sessions were set up with the hope to bring families together, provide peer to peer support, share experiences, and eliminate isolation, especially for children with disabilities and special needs throughout the borough.

Sadly, Josh died on 27 August 2017, just one month before his legacy, Jolly Josh, was due to begin.

After two years of sessions at Springside with Hamer Learning Community, the charity received its own home in Castleton in November 2019.

If you're a family caring for a loved one with disabilities, additional/complex needs and wish to register to receive a regular food delivery to enable you to isolate during lockdown, please email Jolly Josh:

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online