MANCHESTER residents are being encouraged to donate unwanted kitchen utensils and furniture for an ambitious project this summer.

The Real Junk Food Project Manchester is aiming to build the city’s first completely ‘upcycled’ café, using items that people would have otherwise thrown away.

The concept of the café is to serve food that is past its best before date and discarded by supermarkets and food companies, yet is still safe to eat.

It is a model that has been successful in other parts of the country, with The Real Junk Food Project in Leeds feeding over 10,000 people since it opened 10 months ago.

The director of the Manchester project, Corin Bell, says that by kitting out the kitchen and café with people’s unwanted items, it will take the concept one step further.

Speaking to Quays News, she said: “Work has already begun at The Wonder Inn on Shudehill in Manchester city centre, and we want to see if we can create the whole restaurant from things that would otherwise go to waste, and build it using only volunteer labour. Other projects ask you for your money, we want people’s time and junk.

“We want to show the world that people power trumps cash every time, and build a new treasure for our city centre out of trash.”

Junk food cafe infographic

The new café would operate on a pay-as-you-feel donation basis, where customers pay what they think the meal was worth.

Manchester Junk Food Project’s concept of people paying with their time is something that a national foodbank charity supports.

The Trussell Trust partners with churches and communities to open foodbanks in towns, and has helped launch 420 to date.

Lynda Battarbee, the North West foodbank network development officer at the charity praised the Junk Food Café project being set up in the city.

She said: “The Real Junk Food Project would make an ideal stepping stone for people who no longer require emergency support but who may still be on a low income and are looking for ways to make their money stretch further.

Furthermore, the idea of paying with time rather than money is a good way for people to have the dignity of giving something back without having to spend the little money they do have. The Trussell Trust would be delighted to encourage foodbanks to signpost clients to this worthwhile project.”

Whilst the café is being built there are various pop up events taking place across the city to give people a flavour of what is to come. You can see what items the project still needs donating by following the Real Junk Food Café Manchester Project on Facebook here.

By: Vicky Barker

Picture credit- The Real Junk Food Project

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