Catering and Horticulture For The Homeless at Providence Row
Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Ant, Dom and Nicola from Providence Row for Love East magazine in their rooftop garden at their office in Whitechapel. While it was their delicious brownies served at the Rise Bakery that had brought the charity to my attention, I discovered that the bakery is just a very small part of a much bigger project to help London’s homeless.
There are over 7,500 people sleeping rough on the streets of London many of them living with mental health issues and/or substance dependencies.
Providence Row have been running an award winning Catering Scheme since 2010. Their help and support provides homeless people with the means to gain qualifications find work and get their confidence back. The Catering Scheme has had 175 trainees with 158 of them completing. 9 going into volunteer placements, 25 have gone into further training or education, 15 into work placements and 51 into employment. I think that’s a result to be incredibly proud of!
The kitchen which has moved on from the traditional soup kitchen into a space that provides a cooked breakfast and lunch to homeless people made by people who were once themselves homeless. The kitchen also bakes those delicious brownies for the Rise Bakery located on Brick Lane. Food plays a vital role at Providence Row, engaging hard to reach clients, training and for many clients providing the single one nutritious meal they may receive in a day.
Rise Bakery – Brownies delivered straight to your door!
The Rise Bakery which has been running for five years now recently saw a revamp with a re-brand donated by Unreal UK and the development of an online delivery system focusing on the gift and corporate markets. The bakery also offers cakes and cookies in their shop but it’s their delicious brownies, available in four different flavours, which you can order for delivery straight through your letterbox! I can highly recommend the Beetroot Brownies pictured above.
You can show your support by buying brownies and spreading the word about their delicious wares and hard work through social media. Head to the website to order your delivery of brownies and find out more at www.risebakery.london
Innovatively, Providence Row has developed the once unused roof space into a fully functioning garden where they grow their own fruit and vegetables, fungi under the solar panels and keep bees which help with pollination. They currently produce 104 kg of fruit and vegetables a year which makes up around one fifth of the meals served in their kitchen saving them an astonishing £958. Kitchen scraps and waste gets recycled into compost for the beds and they follow organic “good for nature” gardening practices.
The garden provides yet another area in which clients can learn new skills and gain training through their new Gardening Trainee Scheme which has already seen 55 participants this year. Everyone now has the opportunity to have a real field to fork experience. Learn more about nutrition and gain a real connection to their food while improving their health and wellbeing. Weekly Gardening Group sessions also offer an opportunity to learn about different plants and how to care for them, take part in horticulture therapy sessions, relax and socialize in the garden promoting recovery.
For more information about Providence Row, work they are doing and ways to get involved head to their webpage: www.providencerow.org.uk
If you see a rough sleeper please call 0330 500 0914 or make a report at www.streetlink.org.uk to refer a person in need of help. By reaching out you could help to turn someone’s life around making London a better and safer place.