North Notts College Hosts CommuniTEA Lunch
The event was held in partnership with Rhubarb Farm, a charitable organisation that offers vulnerable people in Nottinghamshire the opportunity to improve their physical and mental well-being through horticultural activities.
Melanie Richardson, who is a Food Champion from Rhubarb Farm and also acted as head chef for the day, said:
“My role is dedicated to using up surplus food from across the UK by serving meals and food bags for a small donation to the local community. By doing so, it helps to remove barriers for anyone looking to access a food bag, no matter what their background or circumstance.”
A surplus is described as having an amount more than is required or necessary. For example, supermarkets often throw away perfectly edible food that has passed its sell-by date. To address these issues, products are donated to food banks across the country and used at events like this one.
During the lunch service, each student was given a specific role, including preparing food, washing dishes, and serving guests. Ryan Robertson, a supported internship student, was tasked with preparing meals alongside a few of his classmates.
He said: “Today has really helped me grow my independence and confidence in the kitchen. Having the responsibility of preparing food for a packed dining room was daunting at first, but with the help of my tutors and fellow interns, we managed to put a great meal on the table.”
Stephanie Henry, who is a food insecurity coordinator at Bassetlaw Community Voluntary Service and was also invited along as a guest, said:
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my meal today and the service has been excellent.
“Events like this are great for socialising and bringing people together over food. It can really help make a difference to anyone who is lonely or struggling with their mental health.”
Both students and staff were able to purchase a meal bag for £3, where they could choose from a selection of fruit, vegetables, meat, canned food, and cereals. All of the produce was provided by FareShare, a national charity that redistributes any unwanted goods to local communities in an effort to combat food insecurity and wastage.
Sam Ferrol, who is a supported internship placement coordinator at North Notts College and also the organiser of the event, stated:
“CommuniTEA proved to be an excellent learning experience for our students, while at the same time helping to give something back to the local community.
“This was a real team effort from the students, staff, Rhubarb Farm, and the Bassetlaw Food Insecurity Network. It was great to introduce the students and guests to these organisations.
“We are really looking forward to more of our FLEX students being involved in our next event which will take place in March.”
To find out more about the courses we offer in FLEX, click here.