A ‘FREE’ pay what you can cafe that will aim to tackle food waste and help people in poverty is planning to open its doors in Ashton.

The community cafe will run on food donated by local supermarkets and restaurants – so far Tesco, KFC and Marks & Spencer have signed up to help.

Anyone will be able to use the ‘free’ Ashton cafe, set to open by July, which will serve sandwiches, cakes, hot drinks and soup to customers who will have the opportunity to donate if they are able to do so.

The idea to start a community cafe came from the team at Infinity Initiatives, a not-for-profit community organisation based in Ashton, Tameside, who seek to help vulnerable people and families in the area.

The location of the cafe has not yet been finalised but it is hoped it will be based on Mossley Road in Ashton-Under-Lyne.

Gemma Clayton, 35, Director of Infinity Initiatives, said: “There are just going to be various donation pots around the cafe. If somebody wants to put a fiver in or a tenner, then they can. So really, it’s a free cafe.

Director of Infinity Initiatives, Gemma Clayton

“We’re using the food donated by supermarkets but people will be able to donate, so we’re hoping people will donate when they come! But we think they will.”

“There’s so much waste it is heartbreaking, it is silly the amount of waste that we have.” – Gemma Clayton

Mrs Clayton is also hoping to recruit unemployed people to work in the cafe as volunteers, who will be able to gain qualifications in cooking and serving.

“It will be a simple menu and that will be food donated from supermarkets so we’re really pushing for food waste stuff at the moment. I’m hoping that we can have a community pantry as well, so people can come and get food and take it away with them.”

Tesco and Marks & Spencer are both signed up to the Courtauld Commitment 2025, a campaign that is aiming to tackle an estimated £17 billion of food wasted in the UK each year.

The supermarkets and restaurants signed up to the campaign, including KFC, will seek to redistribute food that would otherwise be wasted to local charities and organisations in order to help those living in poverty.

What do you think about the cafe plans? Do you think more pay as you can cafes should be set up around the country to help tackle food waste and help people in poverty? Get in touch and let us know in the comments!

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