As part of the Roma youth journalism course, Govanhill voice spoke to Marek Balog from Community Renewal about their Community Canteen Project.
Community Renewal is a local community organisation, how long have you been operating in Govanhill?
Bob Marshall and Paul McColgan founded Community Renewal in 2003 with a burning question – What would it take to lift a neighbourhood out of poverty?
Since then we have worked in 12 neighbourhoods in Scotland, conducted over 30,000 listening conversations, supported almost 4,000 people into work and 3,500 to take up health improvement services.
Community Renewal has teamed up with The People’s Health Trust to deliver Local Conversations Projects in the communities of Bingham/Magdalene in South East Edinburgh, Muirhouse in North Edinburgh. Community renewal start engaging with residents in Govanhill form 2011. Project Local conversation funded by People health trust started in 2016. The Community canteen project is a separate project, and has run from January 2017
How long has the community canteen been running and what are your plans for this year?
Community canteen started early in 2014, but in Queens park church
A current project, funded by Scottish government is running in Daisy street church hall from January 2017. Our plan is to continue delivering the service for as long we can, helping and supporting those in need in Govanhill.
We also aim to recruit as many volunteers as we can, and help them to get some skills that can be later transfer to their new job.
Who are these programmes / activities aimed at and how can local people get involved, volunteer or attend?
Govanhill canteen is open to everyone, also for people out of Govanhill.
Canteen is part of big project funded by Scottish government, the project is called Fairer food transformation fund. The project aim is to divert people from using food banks, people start eating healthier food and also be able to prepare heathier food by them self, being less isolated, all this like learning how to cook they can do by volunteering in canteen if they want .One of the aims was also to break a stigma of free food by sharing a table and eating with people you never meet so you are making new friends and by doing this you have more feeling like you socialize and not just coming for free food .
We have a Facebook page where people can join the group and see instantly if we need some helpers on that day and also we have rota where some regular volunteers agreed on some days in the longer term. We always looking for volunteers, you don’t need to have experience, just get in touch with us on our Facebook page;
Govanhill community canteen
People who never been before in canteen are very welcome to come anytime on Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30-7 and Friday lunch from 12:00 is open to whole public.
What kind of food do you serve and is any of it from Supermarket waste schemes or local suppliers and charities?
We get food delivery on every Tuesday .The organization that delivers food is called Fare share, and they get food that is very short dated from big supermarkets and then passed to others organization like us.
We never know what to expect, so is very challenging for our cooks to think what they will be cooking from stuff we have as we have very small budget for buying food but in some occasions, we have to buy some ingredients.
Every session if we cooking a meaty dish, we offer a vegetarian option as well
For more information contact
A bit about the author;
This interview was conducted by Karolina Olszewska who is 14 and lives in Glasgow.
I am originally from Poland.
At the moment I am a 3rd year school student at Holyrood.
Images Supplied are by Marek Balog