A cafe serving food that would otherwise be thrown away on a pay-what-you-like basis could soon open in a Stamford church.
A group of volunteers want to set up the cafe both to reduce the amount of food going to landfill and to help feed people who are struggling financially.
The idea is based on The Real Junk Food Project, set up in Leeds by chef Adam Smith last year. His cafe has been hugely successful and has spawned similar projects all over the world.
George Hetherington is part of a team trying to set up their own cafe at Trinity Methodist Church in Barn Hill, Stamford. The group hopes to be up and running by September.
“I thought it was a great idea and something we could do in Stamford,” said George. “The church isn’t used on a Saturday morning.
“I took it to the church council and they agreed that it should go ahead.
“We’ve already had 11 people express an interest in helping with the project.”
The way the cafe would work is simple. George said: “We’ll go to supermarkets and cafes and take from them any food that’s about to be thrown out. The idea is to make use of food that would otherwise go to landfill.
“Everyone can come and have a meal, whether they can afford it or not, and they pay as they feel. If they want to pay a decent amount then fine; if they haven’t got any money they don’t have to pay anything.
“We will try to encourage people who haven’t got the money to take part in the project. They can pay by helping out.”
The group believes wasted food is a huge global problem. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of food that is past its “best before” but still fine to eat is thrown away by supermarkets and food retailers in the UK each year.
But people are still going hungry and more and more foodbanks are being set up across the country.
Stamford Foodbank, which was set up in July 2012, has so far provided 16,200 meals for 1,800 people.
George hopes to work with Stamford Foobank as well as the town’s food retailers. He said: “It’s a community project with the community working for the community.
“The Foodbank think it’s a great idea and will pass on our details. And when they have too much of something they will pass it on.”
Some of the volunteers visited the original Real Junk Food Project in Leeds on Monday. They also visited a similar cafe in Bradford. They came back full of ideas and inspiration.
The group now needs to recruit volunteers and strike deals with as many supermarkets, cafes and shops as possible to get the cafe up and running.
They already have plenty of ways to involve the community in the project. George, through Stamford Fairtrade Steering Group, already works with catering students at New College Stamford, and hopes to form a partnership with the college and the cafe.
He has also suggested having guest chefs from the area’s restaurants for one-off occasions.
If you would like to get involved in the project, call George on 07891 437914.