Paul contacted SNTB to see if we would promote South Norwood Community Kitchen. Interested in their underlying philosophy, aims and trying to gauge if they truly believe in what they are doing or simply a stepping stone to their own personal agenda. Before giving our support, we asked to meet them for a drink as we won’t support self interest, exclusivity by economic means and the desire to gentrify as opposed to regenerate our wonderful republic. We weren’t disappointed.
South Norwood Community Kitchen opens April 22nd, and is Laura and Paul’s desire to create an environment where anyone can come and get a free meal is a wonderful concept; no labels, no judgement and no tug your forelock, grateful for the scrapings of self worthiness from the privileged few! The kitchen will serve everyone as an equal, young and old, all sitting together as a community without the feeling of preconceptions, prejudice and stereotyping.
When questioned Paul explained:
‘Why? Well, Why not?’
We chose South Norwood due to the sense of community we could feel around the place. Food Cycle, the closest thing to what we are doing, thrives in if not close knit, then bustling communities that live close to one another……. we liked the idea so much we decided to do our own thing, without the bureaucracy of an overarching charity.
I am hoping to get funding from big business and the like, as part of their corporate responsibility, but this will probably only open once we have proved we can run it, hence the crowdfunding now so we can knock it into shape.
People find it hard to comprehend that altruism can be truly that, but in this case I’d say it is. We have nothing to gain other than the knowledge that we might have had an impact in some small way and that we’ve not just sat at home watching TV.
Meeting Laura and Paul turned into a wonderful afternoon, chatting about life experiences and ultimately their new venture; both are really passionate about what they want to do and their integrity shines through with every answer to any question.
Currently, everything associated with the preparation, advertising etc for the community kitchen has been from their own pockets, which are not that deep, hence the crowdfunding request. Their concept of complete community inclusion is something the tourist board hold close to their heart and ask if people can again donate just what they can afford; 10p or £10 it all adds up.
Asked how it works:
We take food, currently donated by Tesco, but thats not to say other people cant get involved – and in fact we would very much like local grocers and the like to give us dibs on their unsold stock. It’s better we make something of it than it just goes into the bin.We then cook up whatever we get, supplemented by our own stores and dish up a hearty meal for all who want to come and have it. The menu of course will vary depending on what we’re given, but its always guaranteed to be good.Leftovers will be boxed up to be taken away and enjoyed at home.
Regarding the venue at South Norwood Baptist Church, Oliver Avenue.
We will be able to hold 30-40 at one time in the space the church are letting us have, in big long communal tables where the idea is everybody from the various walks of life they may come from sits down and eats together.We want to make a point that it is open to all and sundry, we won’t be means testing anyones eligibility, if you want to come and eat, just turn up at 12.15 and be seated.The hope is of course that anyone in need will come, and those who may not like to admit they’re in need as it will not have any stigma of being something only for the poor or the homeless and instead will be a celebration of local community getting together.