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Charity Café Comes With a Catch
Wednesday 30th September 2015 @ 12:27 by Tom Greggan
Ashton News

A Tameside cancer charity is to open the area’s first ‘pay-as-you-feel’ café, to turn surplus food from local supermarkets and other food businesses into nutritious meals that everyone can afford.

The Herb Loft café, which is based at the Lavender Ribbon Cancer Support in Market Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, will open on Thursday. Customers will be asked to pay whatever they can afford or to donate their time to help the charity.

The Herb Loft will be run with support from Tameside College and will be a member of The Real Junk Food Project network of ‘pay-as-you-feel’ waste food cafes, which use food from retailers and restaurants that would otherwise go to waste.

Lavender Ribbon’s Deputy Manager Anna Shaw, who is a trained chef, says: “Around 5.8 million people in the UK live in deep poverty, with over 400 families in Tameside alone reliant on hand-outs from food banks. We have heard recently that reliance on food that has a long shelf life – which out of necessity is exactly what food banks provide – could lead to a health crisis in the future.

“We want to ensure that local people have access to healthy and nutritious meals on a daily basis, made with fresh vegetables and fruit. It has long been accepted that consuming at least your ‘five a day’ can play a significant role in reducing your personal risk of disease, particularly cancer.

“The ever increasing cost of living, unemployment, delays in accessing benefits and benefit sanctions have led to a sharp rise in the number of people who are really struggling to get enough to eat and becoming malnourished. This makes no sense at all to us when 15 million tonnes of food is wasted every year in Britain, the vast majority of which is perfectly edible.”

Gail Clifford, the Work Experience Manager for Tameside College, added: “The Lavender Ribbon Cancer Support Café will be a great new addition to Ashton Town Centre, offering healthy and affordable meals to local people. Our food studies students will get some excellent work experience in the café as it is a great way for them to improve their skills alongside their studies. They’re really looking forward to the challenge.”

The café opening is at 12 noon on Thursday 1 October.