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May 20, 2015

Another way to tackle food poverty

Woodlands Community Garden is the main project of the local development trust in this west end area of Glasgow. The community reclaimed a derelict area of land and turned it into a thriving ‘outdoors community centre’. As part of their response to local food poverty, they run a pop up café as an alternative to what most food banks offer. Food at the café is shared with everyone in an attempt to tackle some of the stigma around food charity. They’ve just launched a crowd sourcing appeal for funds to keep the café open.




Woodlands Community Garden are launching their Pop-Up Cafe crowd-funding event on Sunday, May 24 from 2-4pm. See video here

The fundraising picnic is a chance to find out more about their Local Food Social Support Hub Project and to meet staff and volunteers from the community cafe. All proceeds will go to support the Pop-Up Cafe.

The Pop-Up Cafe offers an alternative model to most food banks, with a shared meal provided as part of their work to tackle food poverty and social isolation.

But the community cafe’s Big Lottery funding ends next month. And the crowd funding target of £15,000 would keep them going for a further year while also standing as match funding for grant applications.

Woodlands Community Garden say if they exceed the target then they can either keep the cafe going longer or look at options for running the cafe on more days.

For every £1 raised they estimate 95p will go to support frontline work.

“The Cafe not only provides access to good, fresh, and healthy food, it also actively breaks down the stigma often associated with accessing food charity.

Food here is shared and in that sharing we are all made to feel equal. “

“It’s a lifeline.  I don’t know what I would do if it shut.”

Woodlands Community Garden’s Pop Up Cafe offers an alternative model to most food banks – one which centres around a shared meal rather than dried food parcels.  We need your support to enable us to keep the cafe running after funding from the Big Lottery ends in June 2015.

“I  am disabled and quite often don’t eat very well due to fatigue. So coming here means I get good vegetarian food and a healthy meal.”

The food we serve is freshly cooked, healthy and sourced locally, including ingredients grown directly at our community garden.  Meals are cooked by local volunteers who are supported by two part-time community food workers Irina and Soghra.  There is a great international flavour to our menus, which are comparable to those of top quality restaurants.

“The food is brilliant and the staff are amazing.”

Volunteers also provide “front of house” support to people at the cafe. and ensure that it is a really welcoming and friendly place.  More in-depth help is provided at the cafes from local support and advice agencies, including our local Citizens Advice Bureau. We do not have referral criteria, vouchers or limits on the number of times people can attend as such conditions reinforce the stigma of accessing food aid. Our community cafes currently happen every Monday evening at Windsor Hall on Maryhill Road. Over the last 12 months almost 1500 people have attended our cafes, with attendance now averaging around 40 people per week.

Our target of £15,000 will keep us going for 12 months and can be used as match funding for grant applications, enabling us to both sustain and expand our work to tackle food poverty and social isolation. If we exceed our target then it means we could either keep the cafe going longer or look at options for running the cafe on more days.

For every £1 raised we anticipate that 95p will go to support our frontline work. We will use this money to:

1) Employ a Community Food Worker to run the kitchen and supervise our volunteer cafe helpers. Due to the cafe being so busy and some of the people attending being from vulnerable backgrounds, it can’t be run by volunteers alone.  That’s why we are also asking for help to cover our essential staffing costs. 

2) Meet the the cost of our food and kitchen supplies, using fresh local organic produce whenever possible.

3) Increase the amount of food we grow ourselves that can be used at the cafe. This will be both at our community garden and other local community sites, including for example supporting  our local primary school to help grow food that they will donate to the cafe.

4) Train and support volunteers, increasing their skills and confidence to cook healthy meals on a budget, run cookery demonstrations and signpost people in need to relevant support organisations.

Just 5p in every £1 will go towards some of the overheads involved in running the project – for example a small contribution towards the cost of our insurance, phone and broadband, stationary and office costs.