Main image L to R: Holly Gurney from Feeding Bristol; Jo Mereweather, Inns Court Community and Family Centre staff member and Simon Green, Food Club Support Worker from Family Action – with an example of a food box distributed to club members.
A popular new Food Club for Knowle West families will soon be offering cookery sessions – and is also looking for volunteers to help out.
The project has been running at Inns Court Community and Family Centre on Thursdays since October last year – and is currently one of of four across the city, with plans to expand numbers.
It has been set up to provide “affordable fresh and pantry food” for families with young children who receive free education and nursery places.
But there is also availability for anyone referred by an outside agency or Family Support Worker or for people who use the Children’s Centre.
The project is a joint venture between charities Family Action, Fareshare and Feeding Bristol – in partnership with Bristol City Council.
Simon Green, Food Club Support Worker from Family Action, explains: “…All of the food is surplus from supermarkets and food manufacturers and would otherwise have gone to landfill, so there is also a strong environmental aspect to the clubs.
“The clubs also address aspects of Feeding Bristol’s key strategies in creating a zero hunger Bristol…”
As well as cookery classes – the clubs are a place for members to “socialise, make new friends and find out more about food and other services in their local community. “
The project receives a vast range of food from Fareshare – which Simon describes as “everything imaginable.”
As the clubs have fridges, they can supply fresh fruit and veg, meat and dairy as well as cupboard essentials – with a few treats thrown in. There are also options for people with different dietry requirements.
Simon adds: “…Our first cookery lessons have started and we plan to roll these out at all of the Food Clubs. We suggest weekly meal ideas and recipe cards are also in the pipeline.”
Holly Gurney from Feeding Bristol says: ‘It’s about alleviating food poverty in the city… part of the Mayor’s campaign ‘no child should go to school hungry’ – so Feeding Bristol is committed to tackling that and food waste with Fare Share…”
Families pay £1 for an annual membership and then £3.50 per food bag every week.
Member Hayley Fletcher (27) who has a one-year-old daughter says: “It’s really helpful and it’s good to recycle food or it would go to landfill. Everyone’s really friendly as well… they are so welcoming when you come in.”
And mum of four Lisa Holby (30) said she was finding it useful as she was waiting for her Universal Credit payments to come through.
She said “I’ve got three kids and my six-month-old still has baby milk – and there’s gas and electricity to pay, so it helps a little bit, it’s a few meals…”
The Food Club runs every Thursday from 12-3pm at Inns Court Community and Family Centre in Marshall Walk. To join, people who fit the criteria can pop into the centre to pick up an application form during the week.
Volunteers are also needed to unload and check deliveries on Wednesdays and to help out at the Food Club on Thursdays.
For more information or to volunteer contact Simon.Green@family-action.org.uk