A food and warm space project in Wantage provides free three-course hot meals for locals.
Every Wednesday, between 30 and 80 people receive a free three-course hot meal prepared by a professional chef at Holy Trinity Church, Charlton. Open from 3 pm and into the evening, the project welcomes school children and parents and older generations. The church also acts as a warm space for those in the community.
Father Benji leads the project with a team of 30 volunteers started in response to the rising cost of living and the church listening to the needs of the local community. It is open to everyone in the area who would like to share a hot meal with their neighbours. They also provide takeaway meals and home deliveries for those unable to travel.
Father Benji shares more about the background of the project:
“We launched an ‘I pledge’ project in advent, identifying four key ways our congregations might support their wider community: donating their winter fuel allowance, offering a warm space, helping with a local food project or becoming a volunteer driver, and out of this the project was born.
“When the cost-of-living crisis hit last year, the church was really keen that we might contribute something to our community, and we were doing lots of community listening and research. We had conversations with our schools, Vale Community Impact, the food bank and community café and identified a few major gaps, one being that there was no access to free hot food.”
The team are hoping to expand the project to provide more hot meals and home deliveries and also open a community freezer in Wantage.
Listen to Father Benji speaking to Lilley Mitchell on BBC Radio Berkshire on Sunday 26 March: