“Food is the essence of everything. Its about caring, sharing and building people up.”
Neil, Senior Enterprise Manager
Good Food Programme Redevelopment:
Cyrenians carried out a significant building programme of works at our Good Food Programme in Leith, Edinburgh completing early 2018. These works were to:
Create our Cook School, Flavour & Haver:
8 person workstation kitchen, dining facilities, training rooms, office space and facilities.
Carry out renovations of our FareShare project:
Reconfiguring the layout, demolition of no longer fit for purpose rooms, creation of a new office space and new kitchen and fitting out of walk in fridge space.
The driver for these works were the significant constraints on space, lack of community cooking facilities and being able to achieve our FareShare growth plans.
This programme of development had a budget of £280k and had been fundraised across a number of funders as well as significant investment of pro bono support from key professionals (architects, engineers and others) and donated building materials and equipment. Our funders included; Scottish Government, Bank of Scotland Foundation, Morrisions Foundation, Asda Foundation, Clothworkers Foundation QBE Foundation, CRASH, The Maple Trust and Secureworks.
Key areas of success that these new facilities have opened up:
- The FareShare depot has expanded its capacity and we are now serving 120 not for profit organisations working with nearly 14,000 beneficiaries across a wide range of services. Our capacity to handle significant volumes of food has nearly doubled and we are now handling over 400 tonnes of food a year.
- We were delighted to have the support of Prue Leith who officially opened our Cook School and we received excellent media coverage helping to promote our work and shine a light on what we do.
- We have developed a new programme of Social Enterprise classes and supper clubs that are open to the general public and support our work changing lives through food. We have a rolling programme of sell out Saturday morning masterclasses with local cooking experts sharing knowledge on everything from dumpling-making, Sicilian and Catalan cooking to Easter baking and Syrian pastries. We also regularly hire out our kitchen facilities for a competitive rate helping to contribute to our running costs.
- In the summer of 2018, we launched our twice-monthly Syrian Supper Clubs which have proved to be hugely popular with both Edinburgh food lovers and media alike. The Herald, Scotsman and local food magazine Bite have all carried extensive features/reviews of the supper clubs. The food at the events is made by a recently-arrived group of Edinburgh-based Syrian refugees who are paid for the hours they spend cooking. As well as providing a way for recently-arrived refugees to put down meaningful roots in Edinburgh, the supper clubs also offer a way for the people of Edinburgh to support New Scots who have endured significant hardship while enjoying a wonderful meal. Two of our chefs have gone on to set up their own catering companies while the guests regularly say it’s the best food they’ve ever eaten.
- The Cook School “Flavour & Haver” has gone from strength to strength. Our regular cooking class capacity, working with those who are homeless or at risk, has increased as planned. We have also secured several pieces of funding that we believe has been down to having the new upgraded facilities. This year for the first time we have also opened our doors to children and teenagers (45 attended) over the school holidays as well as also now working with the refugee community too. We are also able to host more customers to our Food Education courses for Third Sector organisations, helping other organisations across Scotland develop their own cooking class programmes.
- Our 10 staff and circa 110 volunteer community have strongly benefited from the improvements with modern, bright fit for purpose facilities. Helping to remove workarounds and provide better working and break spaces for all. The feedback has been hugely positive with many reporting improvements to their wellbeing in the workplace.
- We can now host community meals on site offering a welcoming space for people to come and connect over food helping to ensure dignified access to food and support for those who are lonely and isolated.
- We believe the development of the Cook School also was a key part in ensuring our success in tendering for delivery of the City of Edinburgh Councils “Cooking at Home” Programme. We were able to submit a highly competitive tender given our increased training capacity.
- Our project has been visited by the Scottish Government’s Social Justice team and by the Cabinet Secretary, Aileen Campbell. They have been very interested in our work and developments. We are currently running several projects that are supported by their Fair Food Fund Transformation Fund. We are also inputting into the Good Food Nation consultation.
- Our project has also attracted a good amount of media coverage from the launch onwards as well as interest from the Cabinet and other dignitaries drawing attention to our work.