A “pay what you can” cafe is to open in Bristol, expanding on a service offering free food to rough sleepers.
Run by Stokes Croft Food Project, it is a direct response to an increase in people who are struggling to afford to eat despite having a home.
“We meet people every week who have a roof but can’t afford gas or electric so can’t cook,” said Lisa Furness.
It will open from Monday as a takeaway-only service until coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the free hot food service has been serving up 230 vegetarian meals every Sunday and Tuesday.
Community action group the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC) has worked with Bristol Housing Action Movement, the National Food Service and Caring in Bristol to take food out to those in need.
‘Reduce deeper inequalities’
“In the last few months we became alarmed by how many people were approaching us for food who weren’t experiencing homelessness,” said Ms Furness.
“We wanted to do something to address the deeper issue of food poverty in the neighbourhood.
“By guaranteeing a nutritious hot meal to everyone, we may help to reduce some of the deeper inequalities in our community.”
The cafe and community hub will open from 1200-1400 BST Monday to Friday in Jamaica Street.
The long-term aim is for diners to sit together in a community space which also houses a food bank.