Damien Hein of Damien on Fisher Restaurant at Living Choice Fullarton is grateful for the support he is receiving from residents during this difficult time.

Well, life at Living Choice Fullarton certainly has changed over the past weeks. Closing to the public and watching all those forward bookings evaporate, was incredibly difficult to comprehend. The worst was yet to come with the realisation that there were no longer any viable shifts for our staff. Giving them the news one by one was the most traumatic event in my working life. At that point I thought I no longer had a business and contemplated closing.

How wrong I was! As the news filtered through the village, so many residents came down offering support and telling me how important Damien on Fisher was to their lives, and sanity. I was incredibly moved.

The decision to trade on was made, although with altered hours. I have not been let down. The 10am to 2pm cafe service is a real hit, with people often queuing (with appropriate distancing!) before 10, to get their caffeine fix. They keep me moving and busy all day.

The evening meal service from 6pm - 8pm, pre-ordered and delivered to apartments or collected, has been totally embraced. I am probably averaging 30 meals per night. These range from crumbed brains or bangers and mash through to fresh barramundi, garlic prawns and lamb racks.

Another amazing aspect is the fact that there are wonderful volunteers who fill the weekly roster to roam the corridors and deliver the meals with great precision and skill. They greatly assist in keeping us afloat.

Another great benefit has been the ability to retain our wonderful second chef Shubham, who has been with us for over two years, and Sherylyn, our kitchen hand and possibly our next apprentice. They are not eligible for any government assistance so, needless to say, they are both thrilled to be working.

Thinking outside the square is sometimes required and brought us to the idea of offering a delivery service of fruit and vegetables, all fresh from the Pooraka markets daily. There has been a huge uptake, and along with the daily fresh bread these services have limited residents’ need to travel and added to our turnover.

The support from all at Living Choice Fullarton has been extraordinary. While our full menu and bar is still available, I am trying to offer as much variety as I can with both daily and weekly specials. Please keep up the support. If I can come out of this with balanced books I will be able to pick up from where I left off and maintain and build on the vibrancy that is Living Choice Fullarton. Thank you all so much.