As of July 10th, 2017, our Citrus Café will be a year old!
Opening in 2017 as a collaboration with the Zest Centre, the café has provided a vibrant place for locals to enjoy tasty meals, sure to gain value for money under our pay-as-you-feel system.
A year on, we have served over 7,800 meals to customers and many more have enjoyed our drinks and snacks, all of which are created with ingredients that were originally destined for unnecessary food waste. Instead, we’ve taken the food and given it a new purpose – or rather, have given back its original purpose – to feed bellies, not bins!
Not only has the café provided us with an extra branch for food distribution, but it is continually helping members of the local community socialise with their peers and develop their employment skills where needed. Every Friday between 2-4pm we host the Social Dining Club for over 50’s, giving people a place to socialise whilst enjoying food and the company of others. The café has also become the main base for the ethical catering ran by The Real Junk Food Project Sheffield, supplying food for events such as weddings, parties and conferences. The Citrus Café has become a vital part of our system, and to see the local community appreciating and supporting our project too is a huge bonus.
That’s not to say we haven’t had our struggles. It’s been difficult getting the desired number of customers through the doors. Being inside the Zest Centre provides its own challenge, the location not being obvious to those walking past or even into the building. Open the door and you’re met with a library. It’s hardly what you expect. But it’s something we’re working on, and hopefully soon public awareness will rise. Still, every café has its slower days. Ours happens to be Saturday – and so we started the Saturday morning skill sessions, bringing in professional caterers and guest chefs to help train our volunteers and improve their employability skills. The project owes so much to its volunteers, so it’s nice to give them something in return when possible.
So, we’ve come far in a year. And there’s only more to come. With grand plans of installing a barista coffee machine, creating a dedicated children’s menu and further upskilling of the volunteer team, we have plenty of ideas for you to keep an eye out for. We’re excited to see what the next year has in store for us, and we hope you’ll be part of it!