Though a leafy, middle England town, Letchworth Garden City has an underbelly of poverty that goes largely unseen. Our community has the lowest household income, after housing costs, in the region and nationally. Letchworth has 31% social housing as opposed to the national average of 18%. 1 in 4 of our children is locked in poverty. We are, however, a proud town with a long history of social and environmental awareness. Our café strives to fight food waste and food poverty within this context.
Best Before Café is a volunteer lead, not for profit project. There are 30 of us on the team, we collect food from local supermarkets, food suppliers, allotments to share with our community. We work hard during the day and at night to gather as much surplus food as we can so that it doesn't go to waste and so that we can protect the planet from it ending up in landfill.
For the past two years the café has been ostensibly homeless. We have recently managed to negotiate a licence to operate in a retail unit in the town centre. It has no kitchen or hot water. We are using the funds raised through this funding to kit out a kitchen so that we can offer hot food and drinks to our community as well as affordable groceries. The ability to provide hot food will enable us to quickly nourish the families and children that come to our café. This is a service that is even more needed in the current pandemic.