The story so far:
Riverside Church is based between Muirton and North Muirton in one of the most socially-deprived areas of Perth.
Before Covid-19, we were in the middle of developing a community cafe - to be known as Martha’s Kitchen. When the pandemic arrived, we decided to put our plans on hold to address the immediate need for food distribution in our area. Since March, staff at Riverside Church have been involved in a city-wide Covid response network, stocking food banks and helping the most vulnerable in our communities with shopping and prescription collection. This partnership work has shown us that food poverty is a growing reality.
We want to ‘use what we’ve got to do what we can’ for the benefit of our surrounding community. Right now, this means using our kitchen to turn surplus food from supermarkets into low-cost, nutritious meals for low-income households, or those facing unemployment.
We have good relationships with our local primary schools and neighbouring Perth Grammar School and we work confidentially and respectfully to identify families most in need of meals.
It’s not just about the food:
Through a holistic approach at Martha’s Kitchen, we want to give local people the opportunity to volunteer with us, receive training and gain accreditation in courses such as Food Hygiene. We also want to provide mental health support, if it’s needed, and space in our community Resilience Rooms for people to receive employment advice or counselling. We have strong links with other organisations and will work together to provide a range of specialised training and support. We want to see people gain life skills, new skills and increased confidence to improve their employability and to build a more resilient community.
Use of funds:
The money that we raise will be used to carry out essential work in our kitchen to ensure it’s safe and fit for purpose. This will include the purchase of suitable appliances and kitchen equipment to maximise our food production.
When it’s possible, we’ll revisit our original plans to develop a community cafe as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted - there’s currently no similar facility in our area. Riverside is a vibrant community hub for people of all faiths or none and our wide range of groups and activities reflect this. Many of the people we work with are disadvantaged, while others experience social-isolation. As we move through the pandemic, it will be important to ensure that people can socially reconnect in a safe environment such as ours. Our hope is that Martha’s Kitchen can become a valued, important and well-loved space for everyone in our community.
“I don’t know what I’d do without this place” (volunteer)