Monday, 5 October 2015

The Hollingbean Has Sprouted

The Real Junk Food Project have been working incredibly hard over the summer and many of you may not have heard that our family has grown.

As well as some brilliant new volunteers, we have been reaching out to new communities across Brighton. We've run several local pop-up cafes and our new Hollingbean Cafe has been born.

The Hollingbean is a weekly cafe run from the Hollingdean Community Centre every Thursday from 1-3pm. We have been serving up our lovely intercepted lunches to many new local residents in this part of Brighton and some One Church regulars who are making the trip up the hill.

The idea for a cafe in Hollingdean came from Real Junk Food Directors Sarah and Jess, both Hollingdean residents. They thought it would be great to bring The Real Junk Food Project Brighton to their local community and that people there would really benefit. Both of Sarah's children had been through Hollingdean schools, and as a School Governor for many years, she was aware of food poverty first hand and the struggle some families were facing.

Opening just a week before the school summer holidays the Hollingbean Cafe ran throughout the six week break. 

'We were thrilled to see so many kids using the cafe and getting the hot meal they were used to during a regular school week. The government initiative for Free School Meals For All has helped many families escape food poverty during term time but the summer holidays can be a stretch for some. This is why we need to find permanent premises so we can offer our cafe 7 days a week'

The first few cafes at the Hollingdean Community Centre just off Davey Drive went really well with interest from some new volunteers. We decide to ask visitors to come up with a name. We had some great ideas, especially from the kids, and the name eventually was shorted down from a suggestion from local Brighton University student Abbie Jaggers - 'The Hollingbean Comspoonity Cafe'. With slight concern about getting it all on our blackboards we kept it simple with and THE HOLLINGBEAN was born.

Our hope for the cafe is to reach out to the whole community and help those feeling isolated. We have already had some wonderful feedback from people using the cafe and there is a real buzz every Thursday. The dream is for the cafe to run independently with local volunteers so our directors can take The Real Junk Food Project Brighton to another area of Brighton and start feeding more bellies not bins.

For anyone interested in volunteering at The Hollingbean we'd love to chat. You can offer as much or as little time as you like and you don't have to be able to cook. It's a brilliant chance to learn skills, socialise and be part of the friendly Hollingdean community.

We are already partnering with services to provide information and additional services at The Hollingbean. We have an energy adviser visiting in a couple of weeks to help people understand their bills and make informed changes if they need. The Bike Doctor is also planning to run during some of the cafes so visitors can bring their bikes and get any free help they may need with servicing. If there is something you'd like to offer or see at The Hollingbean Cafe please get in touch.

See you next Thursday!
The Hollingbean Cafe 1-3pm Hollingdean Community Centre (Thompson Road, BN17BH)

Just some of our recent feedback:

'Lush food, friendly vibe, great idea for the community'

'The people are very welcoming, very polite and make you feel relaxed. The food is amazing and brilliant. Thank you'

'What a friendly bunch. I didn't know what to expect but the food was great and a lovely vibe'

'Lovely food, very tasty, great atmosphere, good company, no pressure, very welcoming. Thank you'

Get in touch for more info and to volunteer 

Author: Sarah Ryman - Sarah is a mum of 2 and Hollingdean resident who volunteers with The Real Junk Food Project

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