Take two local charities, Loveworks and MCFT, looking for new ways to help local people in food poverty: add in equal measure. Mix in the professional experience of a group of trustees looking to support a community project. Scatter with eager volunteers tired of seeing good food go to waste. Finally, add a generous sprinkling of enthusiasm and a whole heap of faith. Stir it all together well. Turn up the heat and wait…
What do you get?
Potentially, Merstham’s very own pay-as-you-feel café that diverts wasted (but perfectly edible) food from supermarkets, restaurants and other local businesses and channels it into the creation of hearty meals that are affordable for everyone. Served up in an inclusive environment where anyone from the local community can walk in and feel welcome. Plus a cookery hub where local people can learn for themselves how to cook healthy food, without wasting food, and on a budget.
Well that’s our vision.
Those of us who are involved in this project so far feel it just makes sense. According to charity Love Food Hate Waste, 7.3 million tonnes of edible food were thrown away by households in 2015. The UK grocery supply chain wastes 1.9 million tonnes of food in an average year. Yet as our charity partners, Loveworks and MCFT, have seen, the number of people accessing food banks has been steadily increasing. In fact, Oxfam estimates that 500,000 people in this country are reliant on food parcels, while at least 4 million people are classed as in food poverty.
Across the country in the past few years, pay-as-you-feel cafes have been popping up and playing their part in cutting food waste and helping people who are struggling to eat properly. Now we too would like to do our bit. There’s just one small barrier in our way: we haven’t yet secured our venue. We’ve got our eye on a café space in a new hub in Merstham and we’ve submitted our business case to the Council. Now, all we can do is wait and keep our fingers (and toes) crossed.
In the meantime, we’re putting in as much groundwork as we can so that if we win the contract we’ll be good to go. Plus we’re trying to garner as much support as we can from local people so the Council knows the community is behind this project. At this stage, any support we get could make the difference so if you’d like to see this happen, please let us know.
Thank you and we hope to see you in Merstham for a cup of coffee and something yummy very soon.