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Feeding Community Spirit

Now we are in January, most of us are over the ‘indulging until we are overflowing’, and many of us have made resolutions to be healthier, setting ourselves goals for ways of living to make 2017 a great year. One of the ways we can all make a difference in relation to food is to look at the opportunities around us, taking the time to think about how we can each give a little back to the community we live in. There are various ways to get involved in food charities, co-operatives or projects - for example, through the food banks which exist to help provide food for people and their families who are unable to feed themselves due to a variety of reasons. There are a fair few food banks in Sheffield which cover the breadth of city, from Firth Park and Stocksbridge to Attercliffe. The Sheffield Food Bank website lists the different groups, so you can see what is in your area, how you can donate, where collections take place and get specific ‘shopping lists’. Go and take a look. There are many other food projects focused on bringing people together through food, encouraging community, sharing experiences and reducing food waste. The Foodhall operates a ‘pay as you feel’ cafe on Eyre Street, which is open Thursday to Saturday. They opened in 2015 and their ethos is to provide an accessible space where anyone can come along, socialise and be involved, whether that is to eat or to cook together. The building is furnished with recycled materials and the menu changes regularly based on what food has been donated by retailers - food which would otherwise have been thrown away. Rumour has it they are helping the University of Sheffield to open a campus-based cafe which operates on the same basis. Follow the Foodhall on Twitter or Facebook to get the latest updates. Foodcycle is another community-based operation focused on providing affordable and decent food to those who are socially isolated or at risk of food poverty. All dishes are produced with surplus food and the idea is to bring people together over a meal. They offer a free weekly Wednesday lunch at St Bart’s, just off Infirmary Road, to those people who need this support. According to their website, "The project runs with the help of brilliant volunteers. We are looking for volunteers to help develop the project and those who want to cook and serve the food. Our volunteers are Sheffielders from all walks of life - everyone is made to feel welcome." If this appeals and you have time to give, get in touch by registering your interest on their website. Then there is the Real Junk Food project, who opened their first ‘pay as you feel’ cafe in Sheffield at Regather Works in 2015. The goal was simple - to raise awareness of the value of food and use food waste by turning it into nutritious meals and dishes for the local community to enjoy. Food is donated by supermarkets and local food retailers. In the time they have been open, 7,000 people have been fed and hundreds of tonnes of food has been saved from being thrown away. Volunteers have been the backbone of the café, giving their time to prepare, cook and serve food. Now the Real Junk Food Cafe has moved to the Victoria Centre (S2), to what they’ve named the Steeple Corner Café. There are apparently more outlets in the pipeline for Sheffield and their Fuel for Schools project is coming to the city soon, so sign up and see how you can get involved. Whirlow-Hall-Farm If you are an outdoors type then getting involved with Whirlow Hall Farm could be up your street. The educational trust has been going since 1979, providing a 'classroom in the countryside', giving children from all backgrounds a real insight into life on a farm. They offer a variety of volunteering opportunities, through which you can learn new skills, share knowledge and help make a difference to the work the charity does in Sheffield. If you don’t have the luxury of much spare time, you can do your bit by shopping at the on-site farm shop or dining at the Cruck Barn Café. Alternatively, if you fancy the shop floor, how about working with the not-for-profit New Roots on Glossop Road, which is run solely by volunteers? It offers vegetarian, vegan and Fair Trade products, as well as veg boxes delivered by pedal power. Drop by or give them a call to find out how you can help. Make 2017 the year to give something back. @Nibbly_Pig )

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