Free Sheffield cafe that feeds over 150 people a month comes to the city centre

A new community café in Sheffield is working to help tackle food poverty in the city, thanks to a £2,000 grant from the Wesleyan Foundation.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 3:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 5:31 pm
Open Kitchen Social Club has been running in the city since 2014

Open Kitchen Social Club has been providing hot meals weekly for disadvantaged, homeless or vulnerable people in Sheffield since it was established in 2014. The club runs weekly from St Andrew’s Church, on Upper Hanover Way, providing assistance to around 150 people monthly.

And now, thanks to this additional funding, a second session has also launched, at The Sanctuary, on Chapel Walk in the city centre. This free weekly café is also run by volunteers, and provides a hot meal to residents facing food poverty, as well as support, activities, and the chance to meet other people from across the city.

Sessional worker Katelyn McKeown said: “Open Kitchen Social Club started in response to a growing food poverty and social isolation problem which was apparent in the Sheffield community.

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“Its founding members were either working with vulnerable asylum seekers or homeless people and some were even from that background themselves. We set up to serve the community we were already part of.

“Grants like this are essential to us. They pay for room hire, sessional staff to ensure that sessions are always well managed, and they enable us to buy all the ingredients we don’t have donated. Without donations such as these we would struggle to stay open.”

Caroline Hill, chief people and strategy officer at Wesleyan, said: “At Wesleyan we want to make a lasting contribution to local communities and that’s what Open Kitchen Social Club aims to do. We hope that this grant will help to make a difference, giving those Sheffield residents facing food poverty access to hot meals and company when they need it most.”

The Wesleyan Foundation launched in 2017 and has already provided more than £1 million in funding to over 300 charities, community groups and social enterprises around the country.

Shannon Roberts, from South Yorkshire Community Foundation, added: “Open Kitchen Social Club provides a safe space in Sheffield; a place where people can come and feel like they’re not at risk and get what they need. Grants like this helps this valuable work to continue.”