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Fresh Hope community meal brings a new partnership amongst food providers.

Updated: Apr 11

For the last 5 months, a partnership between Fresh Hope, School House Café, Good Food Cheltenham, Project Grow and Wiggly Charity have been coming together to feed people a hot, healthy, and nutritious meal on a pay as you feel basis. 



This idea has come from a desire to give people the chance to eat a meal with locally grown, chemical free food nutritious with a price that does not exclude people from enjoying this. A partnership formed and the venture began, demonstrating once again we can achieve more together than we can apart.


Each week since November 2023, people of all ages and walks of life have come together to eat a meal, that is cooked on site at the School House café, with locally grown food. Good Food Cheltenham have recently taken on the Community Rest Garden, using this to grow food for the community lunch as well as providing the Fresh Hope pantry with home grown vegetables to choose from within their pantry shop. 


The fantastic chef Ryan from Wiggly charity has, each week created a deliciously cooked meal from these sourced ingredients choosing dishes to include these seasonal vegetables making it low cost to produce and making the most of the vegetables available. All meals have been supplemented with donated food from Creed Food Service, are vegetarian with a vegan option always available and raised funds from those who pay to eat to supplement other ingredients needed.


The meal is paid for by those in attendance on a pay as you feel basis. This means that those who cannot afford to come can pay as little as nothing or as much as you can afford. We have had donations from nothing and as little as 15 pence to those paying as much as £10 for a meal to pay it forward to enable others who cannot afford to eat to have something hot and nutritious to eat. 


Fresh Hope have used seasonal celebrations to bring more people together. At Christmas the Mayor of Cheltenham joined 43 people for a Christmas meal cooked once again by the Wiggly Chef Ryan with locally grown and sourced seasonal vegetables. During the school holidays we have served over 100 adults and children a nutritious hot meal on a pay as you feel basis to go some way to combat holiday hunger which is a huge issue in this cost-of-living crisis. So far 576 have eaten at the table of the community lunch. 



Regulars to the lunch have also been attending well being sessions run by Wiggly and have benefited from learning to cook some of the meals prepared for the lunches, closing the circle of people in need of food receiving it, and having the opportunities to learn skills to cook the recipes with food grown locally in Cheltenham. Good Food Cheltenham is also working with Fresh Hope pantry to produce meal kits not only to help people learn the skills to cook these nutritious meals and provide the veg needed for these.  


Over the weeks we have had countless words of positive feedback with new people in attendance each week. One lady has described it as a ‘little bit of heaven’ another saying, it’s the best part of her week, and another saying, its lovely to come to a place where he is listened to and accepted for who he is without having feel anxious.  Attendees sit around a table together and new friends are made, and people talk and share together. The Fresh Hope community lunch is good for the soul, good for the body and good for the mind. Food is something we all need, the benefits of the community lunch bring together a hot healthy nutritious, chemical free and meal alongside friendship, well-being, and fun. What is not to like?! When are you going to come and give it a try. 


The Fresh Hope community meal, in partnership with Good Food Cheltenham and Wiggly Charity and takes place weekly on a Monday between 12.30 and 1.30. If you would like more information or for help and support with your community food provision venture, then please get in touch with us at hello@goodfoodcheltenham.org.


Sarah.

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