The REfUSE Cafe and Van

We're opening 'Pay-As-You-Feel' Café that will serve food that would have ended up in the bin. We're raising funds for a kitchen and a van.

We did it!

On 2nd Jan 2017 we successfully raised £17,085 of £15,000 target with 315 supporters in 28 days

New stretch target

We'll open ANOTHER cafe somewhere else, we'll start a Fuel For School project, and we'll open a Pay As You Feel Anti-supermarket

Let's REALLY feed the world

We're opening up a "Pay As You Feel" café in Chester-Le-Street that will serve food that would have gone in the bin. We are raising money to refit the kitchen, operate for the first few months and buy a van to collect all the food. Food waste is a global tragedy and our café will make a difference to our community, whilst driving greater change. For this to happen, we need your support.

How it all started

In early 2015, Nikki Dravers and Mim Skinner sat down around their table, eating food they'd found in the bins of a local supermarket, and discussed how they could address the problem of huge amounts of perfectly edible food being thrown away in this country.

"How can we save all this good food from being thrown away? How can we gather people round tables like this, to enjoy and value the food we eat? How can we challenge the systems that have falsely labelled it worthless?" 

They came across The Real Junk Food Project, a movement which started in Leeds. It intercepts perfectly edible food from going to waste and brings people together to cook and eat it. They were completely sold by Adam's idea of "Pay As You Feel": valuing food beyond it's monetary cost, but by the resources, time and volunteer energy that have gone into making it. Valuing every person that walks into the cafes not by the coins in their pockets or the label someone has given them, but by the unique skills, time and energy they bring. 

What's happened since

Nikki and Mim started running around the North East's supermarkets, wholesalers, greengrocers, bakeries, cafes and restaurants, collecting any food that for one reason or another was not fit for sale. Every week Nikki's poor little car would be filled to the roof, suspension to the ground, with mad amounts of perfectly good food. 

At the launch event in June 2015, they and our first team of volunteers served 256 people an incredible menu including smoked salmon, cheesecake platters and tempura vegetables. Musicians, magicians and caricaturists entertained hundreds of happy guests from all walks of life. What was once an idea had become a reality: REfUSE was born. 

Since that June all the amazing people who have got involved in REfUSE have:

  • Hosted 26 Pop-Up Events
  • Fed 2933 Meals 
  • Saved 3,800 kg of food from being wasted!

We've even catered for a wedding, serving 160 guests food that was otherwise destined for landfill, and appeared on national television for it!

But this is just the beginning...

We want to go further. We want to start a cafe, a home and hub for all our madness, a place open every day of the week. We also want to buy a van and employ a couple of staff to manage food collections and volunteers. This will allow us to collect well over 10 times the amount of food we currently rescue, make thousands more meals and grow the campaign against food waste across the North East.   

In order to bring this dream to life, we are looking for support to raise a target of £15,000.

What will the money be used for?

  • Renovating and kitting-out the space to become a functioning cafe
  • Kitchen equipment (such as a freezer, oven, appliances and utensils)
  • Start-up running costs (including electricity, gas, water, heating)
  • First few months salary for a food redistribution co-ordinator, to connect with more supermarkets and get collecting food every day
  • Finally, and a very important one... a van, to give Nikki's car a break, and to get intercepting and collecting food from all around the North East


This has always been about a community. Every event is run by a team. We need your help - your skills, time, money and connections. Please talk to us. Check out our amazing array of rewards. Consider what you can give. Please share this CrowdFund page, and help us spread the word. If we don't reach our target, none of this will happen, so we cannot do it without you.

Risks and challenges

We do not underestimate the difficulty in setting up a functioning café and purchasing a van. We've budgeted carefully, including contingencies - disasters in our opening weeks, price increases for our chosen van/equipment - and are confident that with the money raised, and plans for how else we'll raise funds, we can do what we've promised. Re-f-use is a Community Interest Company (CIC) and we have a team of  directors who have worked in management and trusteeship positions in the voluntary sector. We also have strong support from The Real Junk Food Project who have already opened up a number of Pay As You Feel cafés themselves and understand the process and potential pitfalls.

Clearly the greatest challenge is food waste in general. We throw away 1.3 billion tons of food every year worldwide - a third of all the food produced. We are passionate about working to solve this: the ultimate aim of The Real Junk Food Project is to put ourselves out of business, to get to a point where no good food goes anywhere near being wasted. But we can't do it alone. Regardless of the success of this campaign, the issues of food waste needs a public unified in their understanding of the problem and passionate in striving for a solution. We're ready. Are you?

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