Creating a sustainable community

We try give value to things and people that society discards. It’s our ethos. We’re not perfect at it, but I’m proud of what we do. It is a small contribution to a sustainable community.

Too many people are casually consigned to the scrap heap. We can’t afford to waste people like that. People who can laugh and create and talk, and comfort and joke are told they are worth nothing. It’s bad.

We can’t afford to waste food like that. Each year 3.6m tonnes of food is wasted by the supermarkets before it gets to the shops. Ten times that volume is wasted when it gets to the shops. I can’t even visualise what that amount of food looks like. But I know plenty of hungry people. Plenty of people who can’t afford to eat, or who have nowhere they can buy good, cheap food.

So each week we get a delivery of food from FareShare, a brilliant and visionary charity who save food from landfill. We also go down to the Moor market and collect the food that the traders there can’t sell. We pick up food and flowers from some of the best supermarkets. And we use the food to bring people together so they can cook, eat and form a sustainable community.

Our community chef, Merys turns the food into meals which people can buy in our café for time credits (see timebuilders.org.uk). Volunteers help in the café to prepare, serve and wash up. Our gardening teams and litter picking teams, English teachers, art group leaders, lunch club helpers, craft group organisers, staff and friends and customers and random people who just need a meal come to be fed. And they meet others and they see opportunities and they feel part of something. It’s a blend of food for the belly and food for the soul.

Our volunteer and trustee Anne takes the mountains of donated flowers and arranges them so they make our centre beautiful. Then George our driver takes bunches of flowers to care homes in Sheffield so that people who may have no-one to remember them feel remembered.

All these things happen with resources that we discard. Come along and try it out.