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Stratford coffee bar helping homeless with meals and cookery lessons

A COFFEE bar is providing a meal kitchen and creating cookery lessons for homeless people in Stratford as part of a collaboration with a community group during the pandemic.

HR Coffee bar in Windsor Street was approached by not-for-profit organisation Street Arts Project about providing meals to help the homeless and vulnerable people that they support in the town.

Catering manager Daniel Holland decided to go one step further when other charitable food kitchens were closed because of Covid-19.

Daniel is not only holding meal kitchens from Monday to Thursday and serving cooked breakfasts from Friday to Sunday, he is also helping the homeless people with their problems and has plans for classes to teach basic cookery skills.

He said: “I spoke to Jackie Lines, a co-founder of Street Arts Project, who asked if we could help with food and a support base for homeless people.

“She felt it was important that a healthy, nutritious meal was provided during the pandemic and to offer somewhere to go each day to be valued and supported with additional needs.

“The food is paid for by Birmingham-based charity Socks and Chocs, which supports Street Arts Project.

“It has turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done.

“We feed about 25 people a day. It is food we cook for our customers, so it is good quality and a high standard, and any food that is remaining is put into boxes so they can take it away and eat it at a later date.

“It has really inspired me to help out in other ways. We are gaining their respect and we are signposting people for advice with issues around health, housing and agency support.

“We are working with Street Arts Project to start a cookery course to teach the homeless and vulnerable basic cooking skills and an art class to create designs for merchandise on the Street Arts Project website. It is all about giving them a purpose to live and a voice.

“The project is really working and now we’re looking at how we can expand by helping them to secure apprenticeships with local businesses.”

Adam Plumb, of the CWLEP Growth Hub, which advises HR Coffee, said: “Despite the tough times over the last 12 months for the business community, there is still a great deal of kindness being shown and Daniel and his team typify that with the range of help they are providing.”

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