Once a week, we turn food that would have gone to waste into delicious and nutritious meals. We serve the young clients of Charlies, a YMCA residential home and social centre, the staff and guests.
We currently have a deal with Tesco via FareShare whereby every Tuesday night we collect whatever food they have that would have gone to waste. Sometimes we receive boxe full of fruit and veg, other times we’ve had 2 boxes of lettuce or bananas and loads of bread and sometimes we get nothing.
The Cafe is open on Wednesday at Charlie’s, 56 Seaside from 12.30 till 2.00. We do Wednesdays because at 3.00 there’s a drop-in afternoon so more people come from other Charlies residential projects. Some of the clients are vulnerable and many are not eating healthily.
We feed on average 14 – 20 people each service and that doesn’t include the residents who pick up our frozen boxed meals to reheat when we’re not there.
We create homey comforting food but incorporate as much veggie and fruit content as we can. So a macaroni cheese will be stuffed with mushrooms, cabbage, kale, chard. or whichever veggies are available. We generally use fruit to make crumbles and add in all kinds of fun mixtures.. rhubarb and passion fruit, apple, plum and grapes.. See our recipes page here.
We ensure that the food we make is suitable for boxing into microwave containers which are labelled and stored in the freezer for residents to reheat.
We’ve recently purchased a large freezer, with a micro grant from Devonshire West Big Local DWBL. This will enable us to store food in times of excess. Currently we wash, chop and bag extra veg and it has proved a godsend when we’ve got no ‘haul’ from Tesco. Our freezer is now full. We need another one
We operate on a Pay as You Feel/Are Able/Can basis. We accept many forms of ‘currency’ from plain old money [the staff and guests all donate when they eat] to a ‘thank-you smile’ and helping wash dishes.
We are run by a management group currently consisting of 5 people. We have a bank account, constitution and general policies required for a community group.
Julie Bateman-Chuah – Secretary, with responsibility for admin and volunteer co-ordination
Sunny Soleil [Peta Heskell] Chair with responsibility for PR and social media
Monica Durrant, Pamela Edwards and Karlos Fandango make up the rest of the Management Team
We have a team of volunteers who are contacted each week and asked to let us know what shifts they can work. Our volunteer base is 15 or so strong.