The magic ripple effect of sharing food together

Tang Hall Community Centre’s aim is is to manage and maintain a vibrant, welcoming, community hub for the benefit of local residents. Based in Tang Hall in York, the Centre is a registered ‘Warm Space’. It is open seven days a week facilitating a joined-up approach to providing people with community-based support. They provide social, educational and leisure activities, benefits and debt advice and help into training and employment.

The residential area surrounding the Centre includes streets of social housing which fall within the country’s 10% most deprived areas. The current cost of living crisis has created an exponential growth in the demand for support from local people who are struggling to cope financially and emotionally. The Centre operates a community café, hosts a number of tenant organisations and coordinates on-site distribution of free food parcels and essentials for people living in poverty.

Food leads to friendship and more

Tang Hall Community Centre received £3,000 through Cost of Living funding from Bettys & Taylors Group to put towards their core costs and provide food in their warm space. The funding of the community canteen has brought about a transformative ripple effect, positively impacting the community they serve. The financial support enabled them to broaden their outreach and enhance the quality of services provided, creating a nurturing space that extends far beyond the simple act of serving meals.

First and foremost, the funding allowed them to expand on their busy food bank by offering an alternative, calmer and supportive sit-down meal.

This provides an atmosphere where the staff and volunteers can genuinely listen to their community and get to know them much better. This connection not only elevates the dining experience for the people coming along, but also fosters a sense of community pride as the Centre creates something special – magical almost – where people from various backgrounds come together to share a meal.

Moreover, the additional resources have empowered them to implement community programs and events. From nutrition workshops, music events, and themed nights to cooking classes. The positive impact of these initiatives are highlighted through the changes we see in the people we support.

Supporting a new Mum | Lisa's Story

Lisa had a newborn child and did not know anyone in the area. She started to attend the community canteen and has made the centre a second home for herself and her child. The staff have seen her open up about her problems whilst attending the community canteen.

They have supported her whilst she overcomes some of the issues she faces. She knows that there is somewhere where she is always welcome.

Allowing us to look after her | Gina's story

Gina has lived on the same street as the centre all her life and had never been in. A neighbour of hers had suggested that she come to the centre for some respite as she is a full-time carer for her husband and was suffering from depression.

The community cafe is one hour a week where she can switch off and have us look after her. She has really opened up and has made some new friends. This simple act of kindness which is a lifeline for someone who is struggling and feeling alone.

Alleviating loneliness | Ralph's story

Ralph, like so many people, is lonely and does not have the money to get out and about. The community cafe is a place where he comes to socialise and chat with other people.

Several times he has told staff that in between weeks he simply did not see other people to talk to. A highlight for Ralph was to share a simple meal over the weekend with someone he met at the community canteen in his own home.

Enabling Tang Hall Community Centre to be a catalyst for change

Man with a cup of tea standing outside a food truck

“In essence, the financial support from the Cost of Living fund has transformed our community cafe into more than just a place to eat; it has become a catalyst for positive change.

With a quality menu, diverse programmes, and an inviting atmosphere, the cafe has emerged as a cornerstone for community development, fostering connections, and empowering individuals on their journey towards a brighter future.”

Stephen, Manager at Tang Hall Community Centre

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