Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


We are the Magic Hat Cafe. We’re a team of people who are passionate about abolishing food waste worldwide, starting here in Newcastle. We’re part of The Real Junk Food Project - a network of food waste cafes operating on a ‘pay-as-you-feel’ basis.

Over a third of the world's food supply is currently wasted, which means a waste of all the land, water, emissions and human resources required to produce and transport that food. Food waste has a huge impact on the economy and global food security, a billion people could be fed by less than a quarter of the food wasted by the US, UK and Europe. We think we need to make big changes to our food system, starting locally with how we think about food.

We’ve been running pop-up events for over 3 years but we're now ready to get our own venue to expand and increase our impact. We engage with local shops, restaurants, supermarkets, farms and other businesses to intercept their surplus that would otherwise become landfill. We then prepare this food into tasty, nutritious meals for the community. We also run a pay-as-you-feel market where people can shop for fresh produce to take home. Customers decide the value of our food and we welcome donations of time and skills in place of money. This makes our food accessible to everyone, whilst also asking people to consider how much they value the food.

For a lot of our regulars we offer their only opportunity to take friends and family out for a meal. Although some of our guests are in financial difficulty, Newcastle is a hot-spot for food poverty with 36% of children living in poverty, rising to above 50% in many areas, we think it’s important that our food isn’t seen as a hand-out. Our food is for everyone and our café and market are places for people to come together from all areas of our community. By turning this would-be waste into delicious, filling meals we’re also showing that this food has value. We host free cooking workshops on food waste prevention and aim to engage people in conversations about food waste.

Our project has a positive impact on:
The environment, not just from the tonnes of food which we have saved from landfill but also by educating people about their own waste and raising awareness of food waste on a mass scale.
Our community, by creating safe, accessible and welcoming spaces where people can come together to eat and shop, no matter what their background or financial situation. We also provide work experience through volunteering for people who are struggling to get into work for a variety of reasons.

We regularly feed 100 people at our weekly cafe, and with a permanent space we expect to feed at least 300 per week. We have a large and diverse volunteer base of over 100 people from a wide range of backgrounds who make our project possible. We also collaborate with other projects to support and improve our community beyond our cafe.

Our Vision
Whilst we enjoy our pop-ups and are proud of our impact, our dream has always been of a permanent base where we will be able to intercept much more food from landfill and feed many more people.

Our cafe will be fully accessible – a place where everyone feels welcome and at home. It will be a fun, creative space, somewhere we can engage children and adults alike, host events, workshops, collaborations, where we can support other community projects, have fun and create real change.

How can you help?
We are a totally not-for-profit organisation and we need your help to make our vision of a centrally based community café become a reality. We have already proven that a food waste cafe is sustainable and are ready to start running permanently, but we need enough money to guarantee our running costs for the first year, including rent, fitting costs and a living wage for our staff in order to take out a lease.

We need your help to get us to the final, so please vote for us! We’re also running a crowdfunder campaign, please support us there too - thanks!

Project Video

The Magic Hat Cafe

Moment of Pride

We're proud of:
-Using the food waste itself to raise awareness on the issue, bringing together a diverse community to challenge the norm and take action against a global atrocity
-The hard-work and dedication of our passionate volunteers who help make a real difference to people in our community

Location: Newcastle upon Tyne


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