The Beacon Community Cafe
We did it
On 7th October 2020 we successfully raised £720 with 25 supporters in 42 days

The aim is to provide free community meals on wheels service for people all ages who are living alone with long term life limiting illnesses

by Sarah Whitehead in Salford, England, United Kingdom

During the pandemic Community Pride CIC and our funders worked with our local networks in the community to look at how covid 19 was impacting their lives and livelihoods and explore what we could do about it together. We recognised that many people were struggling with food poverty and malnutrition for a variety of reasons. Some peoples finances were severely impacted and they found themeselves unable to provide basic essentials, home carers were not allowed to make home visits to the sick, vulnerable people were shielding and family members were unable to provide 121 care and support, food banks, pantries and community meals were not open and so this impacted massively on peoples ability to provide themselves and their families a basic hot meal.  Many found they were not eligible for statuatory support and for vulnerable people who were able to receive government food boxes, some were not physically able to stand and prepare meals, some didnt have kitchen equiptment such as a cooker, some people had special dietary needs and some couldnt afford the gas and electric.  

As a response to this and in a bid to save her business and livelihood we brought a local cafe owner together with a local group of people with experience of homelessness who had previously been operating free community lunches and together we set up The Beacon Community Cafe with the aim of supporting people who were struggling with food poverty in Salford. 

The cafe has been operating since May 2020 and is a free meals on wheels service providing a weekly delivery of 7 homemade frozen meals. The Community Cafe has enabled 6 people to earn a living wage, kept a local business alive and has so far provided over 2800 free meals for people struggling financially and living alone with life limiting illnesses. Aswell as the meals we have been able to conduct weekly welfare checks and socially distanced home checks on people who are vulnerable, isolated and shielding due to ill health. 

One of our recipients who is in recovery from prostate cancer told us that after his most recent treatment the meals had really helped him to build up his strength again and build his muscle mass back, previously he struggled to do this as he was not recieving enough nutrition from supermarket ready meals. The daughter of another recipient who is recovering at home from a stroke told us how as an expectant young mum herself she had been struggling to manage looking after her mum. Knowing that her mum was recieving a daily nutritious ready made meal really helped to ease her mind when she wasnt able to visit and cook for her.

We believe that this project has had such a positive impact and now plays a vital role in supporting our cities most vulnerable people. As this was initially a crisis response our funding will soon run out, but with your support we could ensure that we can continue to deliver this free meals on wheels service! 

Operating as a pay it forward community cafe your donation today will help us to set up the project as a community owned social enterprise - where every meal bought will result in a free meal for a vulnerable person in the community. Based within a local youth centre we have plans for training young people and homeless people as kitchen volunteers, supporting them to obtain free qualifications and using food donations from local supermarkets to reduce  food waste, reduce the economic losses and the environmental impact of food waste going to local landfill sites.

Money you donate will be used to provide a living wage to at least 3 local people who will manage and operate the service on a weekly basis, cover the costs of rent and public liability insurances, petrol costs of volunteer drivers, costs of personal protective equiptment to ensure safety of our team and those we support, cost of essential food items, costs of training volunteers, cost of food cartons, promotional materials and other operational costs such as membership fees for local food sharing networks . You will also be helping us to expand our capacity and offer this service to more people who are hungry and struggling to provide themselves and their families with a basic meal.

No profiteering, just love and pure community empowerment. Sounds great right? 

Help us make it happen!  

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