With your backing, we will listen and talk to the people in our community who are currently stuck at home and finding things tough. We will help them get support - and make sure they get a good meal too. If just 2,000 people in and around our community pledge £5, we will be able to reach our target and help vulnerable adults and low-income families affected by the crisis.
Located in the heart of Loughborough Junction, South London, The Platform Cafe has been operating since 2017, serving vegetarian cooking to the local community, with a focus on health, wellbeing and sustainability. We provide people with access to healthy and nutritious food and a welcome space to feel at home.
Set up initially by passionate community advocates Charlotte and Jo, and joined now by accomplished chef Sophie overseeing the kitchen, the cafe uses surplus food from Plan Z Heroes, City Harvest and the Loughborough Farm, our sister food growing project across the road.
The cafe has run a volunteer programme since it began, aimed at reducing isolation and improving mental wellbeing, as well as giving local people experience in hospitality and providing roots back into work. We also offer a platform for guest chefs, giving budding cooks the chance to try out their early stages business idea in a commercial setting. We have run many free events and workshops, allowing people to engage with their neighbours and join in community activities.
Until now, the physical space of the cafe has always been a real community centre, where locals come together to connect with one another: sometimes for food, sometimes for a chat and sometimes just to see a friendly face and feel more connected. Now during the pandemic, we want to reach out to our communities in isolation and emulate these values, by providing ongoing support and re-establishing connection where we can.
Since the nation went into Covid-19 lockdown, the cafe has continued to serve takeaway vegetarian meals with social distancing measures in place. Our first response was to use our kitchen to make and deliver free healthy meals, easing worry for Loughborough Junction locals in need.
Now, as the landscape changes in real time, we want to go beyond food. We will continue to offer free meals, using this as our means of connection, but aim to provide deeper outreach and support in the form of listening, talking, befriending and signposting people to other essential services in the local area. We are partnering with the Loughborough Farm and the Grove Adventure Playground (our other LJAG projects) to make this happen, as well as other like-minded community organisations in Lambeth.
We have set ourselves the target of raising £10,000. This will cover overheads, staff costs and volunteer coordination for three months.
We are well placed to be able to deliver this programme, with a skilled core team made up of a qualified counsellor, community outreach worker and experienced chef and kitchen operator. We are also trained Community Connectors, an NHS-funded initiative in Lambeth.
If you know of anyone in your community who is struggling, please get in touch at [email protected]
A huge thanks and credit to Tom Parker https://www.tomparkerphotography.com for donating his time to make our crowdfunder film.