Following the advice given by the Government on Monday 16th March, discussion with health care professionals we know and other local organisations, we have made the difficult decision to close the café. We want to take a lead in protecting the health of our customers and volunteers, particularly those who are most vulnerable, and gathering at our café comes under the “non-essential contact” that we’ve been asked to avoid.
The café is closed until further notice, and all our upcoming events are also cancelled or postponed.
We are working hard this week to work out how we can still be REfUSE, the brilliant supportive community it is, without the café open. Lots of our volunteers and customers are particularly vulnerable due to poor health, being elderly, suffering mental health problems or just being lonely without the community that REfUSE cafe offers. We also know a number of people who are already struggling financially because of the virus, having lost freelance or zero-hours work with kids to feed and the prospect of no free school meals. We want to do as much as we can to help.
1 – We’re teaming up with the brilliant charity, Handcrafted, as we cook and box up meals every day that they then deliver to all their trainees who are living on their own and reliant on the hot meals they normally get from REfUSE and Handcrafted every day. Handcrafted support workers are delivering the meals along with some much-needed human contact and pastoral support, however that is safest to do.
2 – We’re opening the cafe’s front doors on Saturday to give out home cooked, boxed and labelled food for people to reheat at home. This is open to anyone who comes for it, PAYF as normal, but we’re asking you to be sensible and aware of others: we want this food to go to the people that most need it, who may not have access to shops or ability to cook at home. If you know of anyone that might fit this category, not able to find support elsewhere, then please come and pick up some boxes (4 per person) from our doors on Saturday, between 11am and 2pm. We will be taking PAYF contributions by card only, and by just handing pre-packed food at the door we encourage people not to queue or gather together. Please do not come if you are unwell or displaying any symptoms.
3 – We’re boxing up food to deliver once a week to those we know are struggling, whether because they’re isolated or have lost income because of the virus. At the moment we’ve got 55 households known to us that will receive a parcel once a week. This, we think, is our capacity in terms of food we have in, as we don’t know how much food we will be getting in over the next week.
How YOU Can Help
Lots of love and peace from all at REfUSE in this strange time. Keep washing your hands, and love your neighbour as yourself X