Nottingham Scouts are teaming up with Nottingham City Homes (NCH) to deliver pop-up restaurants for older people.
The Sycamore Diner, which opens every Friday at the Sycamore Scout Centre on Hungerhill Road in St Ann’s, has been operating every Friday lunchtime since November 2016. It’s a social eating space where people can come together to enjoy quality, affordable, meals (Those that can afford it pay around £3, and a Pay it Forward scheme is in place so that those who can’t afford to pay don’t have to).
The Diner is now expanding its services into Nottingham City Homes’ independent living schemes including Winwood Heights (Woodthorpe and Winchester Courts in Sherwood), and schemes across St Ann’s schemes. The Diner is also making plans to go to schemes in the Meadows.
The food is prepared at the Sycamore Scout Centre by volunteers, who are trained in food hygiene. The food is sourced from Fareshare, a charity who get their supplies from supermarkets and food suppliers. All the food is surplus, and if wasn’t used by charities like Sycamore Dining, would end up as waste. If they get more food than it can use, it passes it on to other charities, including the Notts Refugee Forum, the Chase Food Bank, the Walesby Activity Centre, Souprunners, and the St Ann’s and Sneinton Food Store.
The diner was started by Chris Flewitt (District Chair) after he saw an article about Super Kitchens on the news. It’s self- funding but supported when necessary by the City of Nottingham District Scout Council. It’s staffed by adult volunteers, some from within Scouting and others volunteering specifically for the project, and Chris sees it as a way of getting Scouting more involved with the local community.
Chris says, “Our biggest challenge remains getting local people through our doors to eat, meet new people and make new friends. We welcome anyone who wants to come and eat with us on Friday lunchtimes – and we’re also serving dinner to residents of NCH independent living schemes in St Ann’s, the Meadows, and the flats by Woodthorpe Park. We’re planning to do one a month in each of these areas, and hope that residents will then be confident enough to come and join us on Hungerhill Road on the other Fridays.
“All profits from the scheme are put back into the Scout Hardship Fund, which enables young people to attend camps and activities they would not otherwise be able to do. We are also encouraging the Scout Groups to get involved with NCH Independent Living Schemes, so our young people are getting involved with events and activities with residents”
“We also do fundraising dinners with outside organisations like Nottingham Rotary, and other Scout groups – we had 30 guests from a Wollaton Scout group visiting recently, and six of them – both Cubs and Scouts - helped prepare and serve the food for part of one of their awards.
“We’re always looking for other local charities, groups, or clubs to use our facilities for meetings which could start, or end with a meal with us.”
Anyone who would like to know more about the Sycamore Diner can like them on Facebook or go and eat at Hungerhill Road.