The Big Breakfast cafe in Old Trafford, Manchester is raising funds to help print a community cookbook. All profits from the sales of the cookbook will go to a Manchester refugee charity called the Destitution Project. Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the charity and the people it supports. The money raised through sales of the cookbook will ensure that fundraising for the charity can continue via the cafe even when the cafe is closed.
The Big Breakfast is a pay-as-you-feel community cafe run entirely by volunteers in Old Trafford, Manchester.
The monthly cafe feeds between 150-200 members of the community, with all profits going to support the Destitution Project, a local project serving refused asylum seekers from all over Manchester. Over the last three years the Big Breakfast cafe has raised over £20,000 to support the project.
Last year alone, around 26,000 people who sought asylum in the UK failed to gain asylum. These people lose their asylum seeker status so are no longer eligible for Government support and must leave Government-provided accommodation within 21 days. Now destitute, they have limited options available to them despite the fact that it is so often the system that has failed, not the person seeking asylum. Linda, one of the volunteers explained: "The Destitution Project supports failed asylum seekers. People who have no recourse to public funds at all.”
What’s the problem?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Big Breakfast cafe has been closed since March, and services offered by the Destitution Project have been reduced. The Government’s social distancing measures restrict how they can help their service-users and have also led to an increase in running costs.
When asked how the Coronavirus has changed how they can help their service-users, Linda said: “We used to be able to offer people a meal as soon as they came in, hot drinks and time to socialise, but that's all gone."
They can no longer distribute second-hand clothing (to limit the risk of virus transmission) and, until very recently, they’ve not been able to welcome people into the church building at all. They’ve had to adapt quickly. Practical help has largely had to be limited to giving out supermarket vouchers. They can only accept donations of new clothing items, and any food they do distribute has to be individually packaged rather than bought in bulk and weighed into portions.
On top of this, the need for support has been huge during the pandemic, and their funds just don't stretch that far.
So what are we doing about it?
As a group of volunteers we decided that while the cafe is closed, and the future is still really uncertain, we needed a more permanent fundraising solution for the Destitution Project. And what better way than to continue with the ethos of the Big Breakfast and use our volunteers and supporters to help us produce a community cookbook.
We’ve come together as a team of local residents, businesses, cafes and Manchester chefs to collect over 70 really fantastic recipes, which we’ve been working hard to test, photograph and finely tune so they are the best they can be.
Every recipe in the book is vegetarian, and each is simple and straightforward. We’ll include family favourites, breakfast and brunch recipes, as well as cakes, breads and snacks. We'll also be sharing some of our signature Big Breakfast recipes, including our famous cinnamon rolls.
To accompany the recipes our group of editorial volunteers have been collecting stories from those who’ve been involved with the cafe from the start and local residents who visit the cafe, as well as the team who run the Destitution Project and the people who benefit from their support.
We’ve made a lot of progress, and with the help of a designer and a photographer it is starting to look wonderful.
Now we’re at the stage where we need your help.
This crowdfunder will help us to raise the money we need to print the book. Once printed, every penny made from sales will go directly to helping the Destitution Project. This means that your pledges will go far beyond simply covering printing costs.
This book will not just be a cookbook. It will tell the story of how a group of strangers started a community cafe, and how the community rallied to make it a success. It'll be the story of how the community and the cafe came together to support an incredibly valuable local charity, and of the good work the charity does to support those in need.
Please consider making a pledge to help this amazing cause, and get our cookbook printed. Thank you.
“Old Trafford residents love meeting friends and neighbours at the Big Breakfast, and so do I. We’re proud to help the wonderful Destitution Project at St Bride’s welcome and care for those fleeing the most desperate circumstances and who come here to seek asylum. And the breakfast is fantastic!” Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston.
“There was a sudden change in my life, something I didn’t expect, and I was lost. I previously hadn’t had any problems, but I started to have health issues and I had three children to look after. My access to help and supplies was shaken and I didn’t have another way out. This project has helped a lot.
I was referred to the Destitution Project by an organisation who had seen that I was struggling. They were worried that I was having suicidal thoughts. They made an appointment for me to come to the Destitution Project so I could get help with a solicitor and funds for other things. I then started to get notifications about when these sessions were happening.
Because of all of the things we are going through, if we didn’t have this emotional support I don’t know what we would do.” Mãe dos Três, who attends the Destitution Project.