Planning for February

Next area for planning is our storage area. This is an important next stage of the gardens. Not only will this mean we can really make the most of the storage, it will all be in one place, and we can start clearing the build area for our café.

At the moment these large metal containers are all over the site.

Our first job in rearranging our storage is the fencing.

It’s looking a little worse for wear.

Once we have the new fences in it’s time for concrete. It’s going to be quite a big job to get concrete from one end of the gardens to the other. Then a lovely new wooden cover, like the ones they have now, just bigger!

It’s going to be great when they are all done. We will post regular updates of how the site is coming along.

Meriden Gardens Update – January 2021

Lots of activity at the site already this year. The refurbishment of the garages is coming along nicely. Progress has been slowed down by the weather, and lock down restrictions, but we’ve still been doing what jobs we can to keep the momentum going and moving things forward.

We will soon have to say goodbye to Leavesden Green Hub, It has been our home since April. We are currently looking at end of February to move our shop into its temporary place at the site. The middle garage will be its new home. Neal has put in a lovely new ceiling, prepared the walls and started the painting.

In the garages we have started the painting the first 2 doors, six in total. Nici has given them their first coat of paint, undercoat. They won’t be white for long.

First bit of colour going on, Oxford blue.

There has been lots going in the garden area with our polytunnels. Two of them have been given a complete makeover and are looking great.

The Poly Greenhouse has been the starting point to growing our own vegetables, herbs and flowers. We have a few failures and lots of successes.

In the raised beds the garlic is coming along really well with over 30 shoots.

We are really pleased with the progress we have made, especially with the restrictions to numbers and the wet, cold weather.

Do you have skills?

With our crowd funder well on it’s way and our new home being rejuvenated, we are thinking about our next steps. This is where we need you!

Have you got the time and skills to help us out?

Email Jane at

Pop over to our crowd funder to get an idea of what we are planning and doing.


We have been working hard behind the scenes getting ready to launch our Crowdfunding page.

Today we hit the live button!!

We have been working hard at the new site, in all weathers getting it cleared and looking great. We now need vital funds for the next stage, moving in!

We are going to be moving our pop up shop to the gardens in January. We also hope to be starting the next stage… The Build.

Having a permanent, full time home has always been the dream of Random Café. Not only will we be able to continue to rescue food and make delicious meals from it we will also be able to teach others to grow, cook and enjoy fresh food whatever their skills. To read more about our plans and how you can help head over to our page.

Five differences between us and the Foodbank

People often ask us the difference between Random Café and the Foodbank. We’re fans of Watford Foodbank – we think the work they do to support our community is amazing – but we’re different from them in a number of ways:

  1. Our food isn’t free. Random Café operates on a Pay As You Feel basis. We believe food is valuable and also that everyone should have access to food. We also have to cover our running costs. This is why we ask everyone who comes along to donate what they can for the food they take.
  • Anyone can use Random Café. Unlike the Foodbank, you don’t need to be in receipt of benefits or be referred to us. Just turn up during one of our opening times and see what food we have on offer that day.
  • We offer fresh produce. Because we make collections from supermarkets in Watford throughout the week, we’re able to offer fresh fruit, vegetables, bakery items and even flowers.
  • We offer food that is past its best before date. The Foodbank is unable to offer any ‘out of date’ food. In fact, we sometimes collect food that the Foodbank can’t distribute in time. All of the food we offer is still perfectly edible. By offering it to our customers, we are preventing it from going to landfill.
  • We are a (non-profit) Community Interest Company, not a charity. We don’t receive any government support through schemes such as Gift Aid and many traditional funding sources aren’t open to us. We have to cover all of our costs through Pay As You Feel donations and any additional fundraising we’re able to do.

With thanks to Watford Foodbank for their support of Random Cafe and for the incredible work they continue to do in our community.