Norman is 92 years old and lives alone. He’s reasonably active compared to others of a similar age, and still drives round in his Robin Reliant. Two days a week he pops into his local community centre, situated on Split Crow Road in Gateshead, for his lunch. It is served up by friendly staff and Norman can choose to pay what he can afford for his food.
I found out about Cosy Crow via the Gateshead Old People’s Assembly Twitter account. They tweeted about the menu, and there was a mention of their work with FareShare which piqued my interest. This is an initiative which provides surplus food to local community groups in the North East of England. The food, donated by both retailers and producers, would normally go to waste. Having dined at the Refuse pop-up in Durham I have experience of eating supposed ‘landfill’ food and decided to pay this little cafe a visit.
The menu is dictated by what is available from FareShare. The volunteers are given a list of foodstuffs and chose what they’d like. Once they’ve received their ‘shopping’ they set about preparing the meals for whomever walks through the door. Takeaway is also available, so some diners take another portion home with them so they don’t have to cook later.
There was a genuine concern that older people in the area were facing the decision to either heat their homes or eat due to the rising cost of living. The Cosy Crow Cafe operates on a ‘pay what you can’ basis so those who are struggling financially can get a nutritious meal, while providing companionship for those who are perhaps feeling lonely. All are welcome, and I took Dinky along. I chatted with people while enjoying my lunch, and Dinky got lots of hugs and attention too.
The homemade Corned Beef and Apple Pies were very popular, and the Sadza Fufupapa (Chicken Stew and Grits) ‘sold out’ while I was there. There’s a definite buzz in the cafe and it’s great to see the community pulling together to provide help and support for those in need. We’ll pop back from time to time for sure, and I wish the project continued success.
Thanks for reading,
There are various drop off points around to donate food to local foodbanks. Click here for more information about Gateshead Foodbank.