16th Mar 2018

A community cafe in Byker, Newcastle, is providing a low-cost after-school meals club following support from the Ringtons Fund at the Community Foundation.

Byker Aspire was awarded £6,700 to secure the services of a chef for 12 months. On a budget of just £10, Chef Penny Walters cooks a different menu each week for up to 25 children and adults. But as well as providing an affordable nutritious meal, Penny shares advice on food budgeting and recipe cards, so that parents can become more confident at home. 

Penny explains: “We aim to keep our meals as cheap as possible and at only £1 per adult, and 50p per child, it is already proving to be a hit with local families. I have to plan every menu and work on a budget of no more than £10 but the key thing is that our menu has to be healthy. I can hide anything in our food. Parents will say to me that their children won’t eat fruit or vegetables at home but, in a lasagna, I can hide carrots or courgettes and make sure that the meal is healthy and substantial.”

Reverend Phil Medley, Chair of Byker Aspire adds: “Support from the Ringtons Fund at the Community Foundation has enabled us to create a weekly after-school meals club, where residents can meet and socialise, enjoy healthy food, and receive advice from wellbeing-related topics to budgeting in the home. We’re a space that is run by the community for the community. We think it is important to keep this at the heart of what we do in order to understand local needs.”

Colin Smith, Managing Director of Rington's Tea Packing Division says: “We’re delighted to see first-hand the support that Byker Aspire gives to local families. Not only does it provide nutritious meals but it acts as a hub to support local people in many aspects of their daily life." 

The Ringtons Fund was established at the Community Foundation in 1995 and has since awarded nearly £500,000 to local charities in the North East. “For 110 years Ringtons has operated as a family business with a long history of giving back to our local community," Colin adds. "My great grandfather was a renowned philanthropist and built our company on this ethos. Today we work with the Community Foundation which helps us to identify the good causes on our doorstep who seek support to do good.”

Gill Lowing, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation oversees the Fund. "To be able to connect projects like this with generous donors such as Ringtons is fantastic," she says. “We were particularly impressed with how Byker Aspire plans to become a self-funding scheme that can develop in future.”

Serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland www.communityfoundation.org.uk

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