WHAT IS CURRY CLUB?
Curry Club is a response to the contrast in lockdown experiences between people living on food parcels and those enjoying excellent produce and restaurant deliveries. We think that joy, comfort and pleasure that come from being cooked for and nurtured should be available to everyone. We’ve got some amazing chefs donating time to the project, such as Meera Sodha, Anna Jones, Denai Moore, Stevie Parle, Alex Jackson and the teams behind Rita’s, Four Legs, Little Baobab and plenty more to come. Alongside our house chefs at the community centre, Martin and Lola, they will send out around 2000 free meals in Stage One of the project. This project relies solely on the generosity of the people involved, who are all kindly volunteering their time for free.
Due to a lack of care services operating at the moment, we will send meals to vulnerable people who are shielding and not able to cook, for whom this weekly cooked meal may be the only one provided. For other recipients who are struggling, it may simply allow them the luxury of not cooking for a night.
By teaming up with Nourished Communities – a local initiative which sources beautiful produce from farms near London – we will create a reciprocal support system with farmers who have been hit by the pandemic.
WHO ARE WE?
Curry Club relies on an ever growing network of people generously donating their time and talent to cook and deliver community meals to around 150 people in Islington per week.
Our core Curry Club team consists of chefs and friends who used to run Railroad in Hackney. After Railroad, we followed our interests into the fields of social enterprise, baking bread, publishing, wine making and more cooking, working at some great places like E5 Bakehouse, Provisions, Towpath, DabbaDrop, Rochelle Canteen, Honey & Co and Fat Macy's social enterprise. Curry Club has reunited us through our shared belief that good quality food should be for everyone.
We will be partnering up with the Elizabeth Community Centre in Highbury, North London. This feels a fitting location, as Islington is a borough well known for its dining scene, but is also an area in which the number of people with food insecurity is growing rapidly.
After seeing there was a need for more community initiatives in Islington, we consulted Islington Council and researched statistics in the area. We saw a need for community meals, a lot of closed restaurants, and plenty of generous chefs with a willingness to help out.
We want to respond with urgency to the situation, as the number of people on the meal recipient list went from 80 to 150 in the last few weeks at Elizabeth Community Centre alone.
14% of UK families with children have reported having insufficient food in the past 6 months, this equates to 4 million people, including 2.3 million children. This recent data revealed that 12% of adults living with children reported skipping meals because they could not afford or access food in the last 6 months.
There is a particularly high level of need in Islington relating to food poverty and food insecurity. Estimates from research figures indicate that over 19,000 residents in Islington experience moderate or high levels of food insecurity. These numbers represent only the tip of the iceberg of true levels of food poverty, as many of those affected by food poverty never visit a food bank.
Curry Club believes that the joy, comfort and pleasure that comes with great food should be available to everyone. Our aim is to relieve some of the hardship, emotional distress and health inequalities experienced by the community through a shared food experience.
Like so many chefs, we share a great love and respect for curry, and a desire to always be cooking it for people who want to eat it. We want to use the concept of ‘curry’ in the broadest sense, encompassing all its vibrant and comforting forms, from India and South East Asia to the Caribbean and Britain. The project will celebrate the different cultural backgrounds of the people cooking and receiving these meals, whilst also meeting a growing demand for nutritious community meals.
Our inspiration comes from the way curry is often used to feed masses of people free of charge. In Sikh tradition, a ‘Langar’ kitchen not only provides free meals indiscriminately to people regardless of economic status, gender, or caste, it also relies on the work of volunteers who can join the cause regardless of who they are. This is just one of many examples of cultures where curry nourishes a community.
HOW WE WILL USE THE FUNDING
Curry Club relies on a network of people donating their time and talent. In Islington, the level of local government funding wouldn’t be enough to start this sort of initiative. Your support is needed to raise enough money for Stage One: February - May.
Stage One will cover around 150 meals to be sent out each week. Your donations will go towards exceptional fresh fruit and veg free from chemical sprays, a small amount of native breed, responsibly reared meat, dry store goods, eco packaging and transport.
Our long term aims involve matching the demand for meals as it grows, and replicating the initiative in other boroughs. We have plans for outdoor community meals with set tables, bookings and every other part of the restaurant experience that would usually be out of reach for a lot of people. So the more we raise, the closer we can get to achieving our goals.
We have big visions for Curry Club and would love for you to be a part of making this happen! Follow us @curryclubldn to join us on our journey.