Martin Gooding

REBEL contributer Martin Gooding interviews the force behind Spoonfull Cafe Becki Kremer

What is The Spoonful Cafe?  

The SpoonFull Cafe is a local seasonal, themed pop-up cafe, where the meals incorporate donated food waste from various sources. Our next event is Spring-time themed and is on the 6th of May.  

The SpoonFull events are open to all members of the public, young people, homeless shelters, refugees, community groups, charities, families, and the elderly. There is amazing, acoustic musical entertainment and live performances, as well as arts and crafts activities. All the food is handmade from scratch by our team of volunteers, and is veggie/vegan friendly. 

We work with, and are supported by some amazing local organisations, including: The Salvation Army, B-Arts, Brighter Futures, The YMCA, Sanctus St Marks, Tsp, Boston Brothers, City Urban Farm, and many more. 

What inspired you to start it?  

I wanted to put on this project for a really long time, as there were several things that inspired me to run something like the SpoonFull.  

I worked at a temporary homeless shelter in London a few years ago over Christmas, and they had essentially converted a school into a place where people could come to relax, do art, get basic IT skills, eat hot food, and meet other people.  

Everyone was encouraged to socialise, and not pass judgement on anyone's background. One of the things that struck me were some of the amazing stories that the residents had, and how they didn't normally have anyone to talk to about things they had, or were, going through. There was no 'us and them' mentality that is often pushed on people by the media when it comes to how we're told to view homelessness, and it made me want to recreate that environment at a different event. 

I was also lucky enough to go to Aubervilliers last year to work on a lantern parade in the city centre, and part of the procession involved a huge community meal that was intended to feed about 200 people and was all made from food waste. It was wonderful to work with the other volunteers, and see how they all came together in the kitchen and food prep area to make something so amazing happen.  

It just showed me how much we can achieve when we come together to do something big that provides for others, and it truly inspired me to do something similar in Stoke. 

What is the aim of the project?  

The main aim of the cafe is to provide an environment where people can come to eat together, meet new faces, overcome social boundaries, challenge stereotypes, and be able to help others.  

We also want to use food waste to challenge our relationship with what we consider to be disposable food, and instead use it as a talking point, or an ice breaker. 

We aim to work with some of the most vulnerable and dis-empowered communities in Stoke on Trent (i.e. the homeless, refugees, vulnerable young people, people suffering with mental illness) as they can often feel very isolated from their community, or don't have a creative outlet.  

This is just as much their city as it is ours, so we want to give them a way of expressing their creative talents, engaging in social interactions they normally wouldn't have, and involving them in volunteering opportunities.  

It's so important, especially in the current political and social climate, for us all to come together to provide for those in need, realise that we're all not that different, and make sure that no one feels left out of their community. 

How can people get involved? 

We are still looking for volunteers on the 4th, 5th and 6th to help set up the venue, prepare the food, decorate, perform, and serve the meals, so if you are interested in volunteering please do drop us an email: spoonfullcafe@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/spoonfullcafe. If you know of any community groups that would be interested in getting involved, or have any residents who may want to attend then please get in contact, as we're happy to have 

everyone come along. We're also collecting donations for Brighter Futures and the Salvation Army, and are in need of: art supplies, books, shower gel, music, sanitary towels, and socks. If you can provide any of these donations, please drop them off in the foyer at B-Arts on 72 Hartshill (ST4 7RB) 

If you can't volunteer or donate, we'd love to see you at the event! Tickets are only £6 in advance, and £7 on the door, and some of the proceeds will go towards Brighter Futures. The event details are: 

DATE: 6th May 2017 

TIME: Doors open at 2pm 

LOCATION: 72 Hartshill Road, ST4 7RB 

TICKETS: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2916438 

EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/1492050317493124/ 

Please also support, and check out the amazing work that is done by Brighter Futures, B-Arts, and the Salvation. Army.  We look forward to see you at the event, and celebrating Spring with you!