Posted on 03 Dec 2021
For our second week of 'Give Back Fridays', we've got behind the volunteers at Wesley's Community Kitchen and Larder on the Fylde.
After donating a 'boot full' of groceries, we went along to see how the community kitchen and larder helps people in need - and the extraordinary story of how it all started.
Based at the Church Road Methodist Church in St Annes, the community kitchen is a cafe that opens twice a week serving breakfasts and hot meals free of charge as well as a foodbank that operates on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays.
It also runs sessions teaching people how to cook, so in the words of lead organiser Paul Caddy "people don't have to go to McDonald's when they want to eat which means their money goes further and they can enjoy fresh food."
On Christmas Day, the kitchen will be serving up a three-course lunch with chocolates and Christmas crackers.
(Pictured above volunteers Tracey Hope and Paul Caddy)
Lead volunteer Paul Caddy, a retired chef who has spent his career in the hospitality sector running hotels, said: "It all started with a pan of soup. My ethos was I wanted to teach people how to cook.
"There was always a food bank here so when people collected the food, I started giving them home made soup. People then volunteered to wash up, and then I would start showing them how to chop onions, and it went from there.
"Now lots of people who work in our kitchen are the very people who used to come here to get food, some of them have even gone on to get jobs in the hospitality sector."
The kitchen and the foodbank are widely supported by local businesses including hotels and supermarkets. They also operate as a space where people can be warm during the winter months and socialise.
Head Chef Jayne McLaren said: "The whole world passes through here, it's extraordinary, people from all walks of life."
Activities have expanded in recent weeks and there's now a book swap and people can also pick up clothing, household items and toiletries free of charge thanks to local volunteer Tracey Hope.
Tracey said: "People donate items to charity shops but not everyone can afford to buy things in charity shops which is why I set this up.
"And on Christmas Day, I will be making sure that everyone who receives a Christmas lunch will also receive a Christmas card and gift."
To find out more about Wesley's Larder, look it up on Facebook.
ICG Digital Marketing Apprentice Lucy Wignall (bottom right) with volunteers from Wesley's Community Kitchen and Larder.