I have been putting together a document for the board of a church and community centre in Worksop on different models of and approaches to community cafes.  I have been looking at different ways of setting them up, as part of a larger organisation (such as Superkitchen or Foodcycle) or as an independent organisation and different routes to obtaining food (such as from Fareshare or via donations). There are a number of ways of accessing food, one way being directly from Fareshare (who collect food past its best before date from supermarkets), either by delivery or by collection, or through Superkitchen who are East Midlands based and use Fareshare delivery and offer other support. Another is through Foodcycle, who are more church based and make use of a variety of ways of accessing food. Some charities set up their own community cafes and some of these are supported by local restaurants, churches or individuals who supply the meals. An example of this is SaSh in Hyson Green, Nottingham (a partnership between a Jewish Synagogue and a Muslim organisation).

 

All cafes tackle isolation in some form, and place varying levels of importance on issues around food waste. Volunteers are always involved in running them. Some cafes serve people at their table and at some people queue up for food. Although it takes more volunteers, I personally found that being served at table adds to the sense of significance. A couple of cafes also offered a hot drink before the meal. This also increased the amount of socialisation possible. I am particularly excited by the fact that people from a wide  variety of backgrounds can attend and that it addresses everyone’s basic need of nutritious food while offering opportunities for participation on so many levels, from attending to socialising through different forms of volunteer involvement.