We need your help to open a pay-as-you-feel Real Junk Food Cafe and Food Hub in Preston, Lancashire.
In supporting us you enable us to not only help assist in the reduction of food waste but also to alleviate the strain of food poverty across the local community, specifically through providing an alternative to foodbanks, setting up a cafe that welcomes everyone through its doors irrespective of whether or not they can afford to pay.
In addition to enhanced food security, we'll provide food related courses and employment opportunities through the Food Hub, coinciding with our aspirations to spread healthy and sustainable food messages.
A Little Food for thought
(i) According to the UN, if the amount of food wasted around the world were to be reduced by just 25% there would be enough food to feed all the people who are malnourished
(ii) 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year in the UK whilst nearly 100,000 children go hungry
(iii) Lancashire police recently reported an increase in shoplifting cases where people are stealing grocery items because they are too ashamed to admit that they can't afford to eat, whilst in Preston The Salvation Army have seen a huge rise in the demand for help from foodbanks.
...If successful in raising this £25,000 to set up our service we will be able to do our bit to change these statistics, improving the food environment and alleviating hunger!
Who are we and how can we help?
This project is a collaboration between The Larder (Lancashire and Region Dietary Education Resource) and the Preston Food Partnership: two groups of people who are passionate about food and who want to ensure that no-one in the city goes hungry!
The Larder is a social enterprise which aims to deliver healthy and sustainable food messages to as many people as possible, supported by the Sustainable Food Lancashire (SFL) steering group - a county member of the Sustainable Food Cities (SFC) network.
The Preston Food Partnership (PFP) is a member of the SFC network and consists of a group of key people from the city whose aim is to work together and use food as a catalyst to tackle local challenges. These include reducing food waste and food poverty and increasing people's confidence, thus enabling them to find employment.
There are a whole host of organisations involved in the PFP: Preston City Council, University of Central Lancashire, Friends of the Earth, Lancashire Recycling Network, NHS Lancashire Care, Lancashire County Council, Fulwood Barracks, Fareshare and 2 incredibly talented chefs: Carol Harris, The Guardian's 'Homecook of the Year' and Dorret Conway, star of the Great British Bake Off.
Together, we have a unique combination of talents and expertise, and the ability to make this project a huge success.
Preston holds a very proud history of feeding people; during World War 1 the 'Soldiers and Sailors Free Buffet' was set up at Preston railway station by a group of woman who worked tirelessy to provide food and drink around the clock for nearly 4 million troops passing through.
We want to recapture the spirit of this amazing initiative and bring back to life some of the passion and commitment shown by these incredible women.
In contrast, last year Preston was "awarded" ‘Unhealthiest Highstreet in the UK’ following a survey carried out by the Royal Society for Public Health, unassisted by how Preston has significantly more fast food outlets than the national average, and we aim to intoduce a change of scenery.
Filling a need (and some bellies!)
In continuing with the Preston's Wartime tradition, we've already experienced overwhelming success; our campaign kicked off in August with Lancashire's first ever 'Disco Soup' event, televised and broadcast live on BBC Radio Lancashire, with dedicated volunteers feeding over 400 people with surplus food donated from supermarkets and local farmers (we even made plates out of steamed cabbage leaves and wholemeal flatbreads so that nothing went to waste. Resourceful, Right?!).
The success of this event has brought many community groups together and it was here that the idea of a cafe began.
Following Disco Soup, in November we held the incredibly successful Pumpkin Fest on Preston Market after being contacted by a farmer who was left with a field full of unwanted pumpkins from Halloween. Again, this event experienced an overwhelming level of support from volunteer cooks and the people attending the event, feeding another 400 people!
So how will this funding help us to continue feeding people?
- The pay-as-you-feel cafe will welcome everyone through its doors irrespective of whether they can afford to pay or not. If customers can't afford a meal they can offer to help out in the cafe or another way. We will be using the already established 'Real junk Food Project' business model and once the start-up costs are covered, the cafe will become financially sustainable.
- The Food Hub will provide space to deliver a range of food related courses and workshops and show films, hold meetings, etc.
- We plan to offer training and employment opportunities for people struggling to find work.
- We will have space for preserving any surplus food including; chutney and jam making, juicing, freezing, canning, drying and vacuum packing.
- A centralised location providing office space for our newly trained Food Champions who will deliver practical cookery courses to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in communities around Preston.
- Pop-up cafes to be run by the Food Champions in underused community centres and church halls - specifically targeting hard-to-reach groups who are unable to travel to the city centre cafe.
- We will work closely with a range of other organisations who will provide a signposting service for people in crisis.
We need your support to help us fund the start up costs for all this to happen. Once these costs are met the project will be run as a business and will become financially sustainable. Any excess funding or profit will be invested back into the project and be used to fund free courses and workshops for people who can't afford to pay. We hope to raise £25,000 but will make a start with whatever we get, our anticipated funding requirements include:
- Staff time to set up the project and develop a business plan.
- A deposit for the venue and legal costs.
- The development of a website for the project.
- Equipping the venue with basic resources needed to start trading (As much as possible will be donated by our wider partners).
- Payment for the Food Champions to set up the pop-up cafes in the disadvantaged communities of Preston.
…Need Some Extra Convincing?
A plethora of people and organisations have supported us so far, including the Mayor Preston and the Leader of Preston City Council; we’ve been working with Fareshare who specialise in re-distributing unwanted food to community groups; That’s Lancashire TV and the BBC have covered our events and will be following the progress of our café; Booths, Sainsburys, local suppliers Ralph Livesy and Preston Market have all gone above and beyond in donating their surplus food; and, we’ve received tweets of support across the globe, including celebrity chefs such as Aldo Zili.
And let’s not forget these endorsements…
Tim Smit, Founder of the Eden Project: "Kay is a force of nature driven to create a project that transforms the way many people live and which screams at us to respect what we put into our bodies. Kay is very good indeed and her insights are important"
Corin Bell, Trustee, The Real Junk Food Project Co-ordinator for the North West: "The Real Junk Food Project is a grassroots movement, a network of projects tackling food waste, and fighting for access to good food for everyone, regardless of income or circumstance. The team that’s developing in Preston have shown real passion and dedication, and I have no doubt that this project will really help local people, and the local environment. We’re really excited about a new project in Preston, and we’ll be supporting in any way we can."
Heidi Morgan, Senior Community Developer at the Eden Project: "Kay Johnson has been part of the Big Lunch Extras programme, an Eden Project since 2014. We have been continually impressed with what she has been doing in her local area and how she plans to expand her project and ideas. ‘It looks to be an exciting and enterprising initiative that has the potential to benefit a huge number of people.”
Geoff Tansy, Chair of the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty: "Tackling the shocking levels of hunger and household food insecurity in the UK is an urgent need. It needs a wide range of actions from many quarters to ensure an end to these levels and this initiative will be an important contribution to meeting that challenge in Preston.
Paul Heathcote, MBE: "This sounds like a great project for Preston, teaching people to eat well and affordably. None of us want to see food wasted - we should give the Cafe and Food Hub every encouragement"
Jackie Jones, They Eat Culture: "They Eat Culture fully support The Preston Food Partnerships initiative for a café & sustainable food hub in Preston, and endorse their commitment to reducing food waste and food poverty in our city"
John 'Gilly' Gilmore, BBC Radion Lancashire: "I have followed Kay on a regular basis on my afternoon programme on BBC Radio Lancashire. She is passionate about reducing food waste, we have also done several outside broadcasts from venues that Kay has been demonstrating the best way to combat waste. She is a great campaigner for something she believes so strongly about"
Jasber Singh, Central Lancashire Friends of the Earth: "This is a great initiative that tackles food waste and food poverty head on, if food waste was a country it would be the third largest carbon emitter on the planet. We are very pleased to support The Larder project in developing a Real Junk Food café in Preston."
Please share this page to your friends, family and colleagues via facebook, twitter, email, however you fancy, so we can truly pursue our goal to ensure that no-one in Preston goes hungry!