Random Café has been based at the Leavesden Green Community Hub for three months since we were unable to use our regular venue at the Meriden Community Centre due to the pandemic.
In the initial few weeks, we were facing some uncertainty. We were not sure if we would be able to continue our mini market during the pandemic as our regular venue had closed indefinitely. This meant we had lost the majority of our weekly income and the cancellation of our fundraising events. The future looked bleak for Random Café.
Without the continued support and donations, Random Café would not still be here.
The Random Café team want to give a huge thank you to all the Friends of Random Café who have continued to donate to us throughout this challenging period. As a result of your membership fees, we have been able to save 42 tonnes of food and have helped feed over 2000 people since lock down. We have since been able to successfully apply for funding from various organisations to supplement your support.
However, we are in the process of finalising some very exciting plans and we need your help to continue with them. Becoming a friend of Random Café not only supports the work we do to reduce food waste and creating a community but allows you to receive a whole host of great benefits such as:
Entry to our monthly prize draw
Early bird notice for our events
Discounted prices for our events
If you would like to become a friend of Random Café click here and thank you again for your continuing support.
On Saturday we were visited by Watford’s elected Mayor Peter Taylor. Peter has been supporting Random Café since our launch in 2017 and it was lovely to be able to show him what we have been doing at Leavesden Green Community Hub.
During the pandemic lock down Peter has visited many of the great organisations support those in isolation. There are many organisation within Watford who have change the services they provide or have formed a new group to help and support those that need extra help.
We have now saved over 40 tonnes of food from going to land fill. This figure has shot up in the lock down period, as we have been able to open more times in the week. Also our little van has been out collecting 7 days a week. When we first started, nearly 3 years ago we collected our main supply of food from Morrisons, on a Friday, with a few collections from the smaller Watford Tesco. We have added to this over the years and also have M&S, Lidl, Co-op and Aldi as regular collections, some of them 3 times a week.
There have been some one off collections too. We often get a call when a company has an over stock of goods. Anyone remember the houmous!! A local company had 177, 500 gm tubs of beetroot houmous. Social media, Whatsapp groups and neighbours were called upon to help distribute the tubs. We did it!!
Recently we received a call from a company in Luton who distribute Mexican Food. They had a large quantity of tortilla wraps, in 4 flavours and they had a short best before date.
Our electric van has limited range so we couldn’t risk running out of battery on the M1 so we took my car instead and managed to fit 42 boxes (2016 tortilla wraps) in it. As we couldn’t take all the wraps they had we then contacted our friends at Best Before Café in Letchworth. They are a fellow waste food café, and they were able to take lots of the wraps and distribute them to their customers.
In the time we have been running, we have made links with many groups and businesses, and during the lock down period we have formed more new friendships with organisations in the Watford area. While we love making connections with other organisations one of the most important connections we make is with you because without you we would be throwing away food that could be made into yummy meals.
With more of you visiting us and rescuing delicious food from going to landfill we can make sure we really do FEED BELLIES NOT BINS.
Since the lock down we’ve had lots of changes at the café and due the change in routine we have missed out on our Friends of Random Café membership draw.
To make up for not having a draw in March, April and May. There will be a draw each Friday in June, with a finally draw on Tuesday 30th June. This gives our Friends members 4 chances to win.
Our Friends of Random Café Membership give us vital funds to be able to run our not for profit Shop and Café. If you would like to take part in our draw and support our project, head over to our support us page and click the link.
We are starting off our month of draws with this Random bundle of exclusive Random Café goodies. A lovely tote bag, pen, notebook and food waste hero key ring with a bottle of Prosecco.
Since lock down started there have been a huge amount of changes to people’s lives and one of the biggest is with food. Whether that’s because of health, age, financial situations or lack of stock on shelves. At Random café we have seen major changes too. The levels of food we have intercepted has gone up and down like a roller-coaster. Some days we don’t seem to have much fruit and veg, others we are short on cupboard items. If we have no food, this is actually a good thing – the supermarkets aren’t wasting it.
Random Café has had to adapt with the changes too. As many of you are aware we have moved to Leavesden Green Community Hub and it’s there we have a pop up shop and a food box service. Through this shift in services we have forged links with other local organisations. We are also working with Watford Community Housing, W3RT and Watford Borough Council. They are both working non stop to make sure Watford residents are safe and have food. There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes on a ‘normal’ day and, since the lock down this has increased extensively.
We are now working closely with our local Lidl store who are collecting produce for our boxes. Thank you to everyone for your kind donations. The amounts we have collected are, unfortunately not keeping up with the volume needed. If you are able to pop an extra couple of tins in your shop, to help us keep this service going, it would be greatly appreciated. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our community and it is lovely to see so many helping where they can. There is a wish list of items below of the things we have run out of. If you would like to donate these can be dropped of at the Leavesden Green Community Hub, details attached.
A huge thank you to everyone for your continued support, from the Random Café Team.