Restaurant aiming to tackle food poverty in Ayr hits crowdfunding target

Restaurant aiming to tackle food poverty in Ayr hits crowdfunding target
The National
03.01.17

A social enterprise restaurant to tackle food poverty and reduce social isolation is set to become a reality after reaching its initial crowdfunding target of £5,000.

Foodbank volunteer and social policy student Angela McNay, the founder of the Ayr-based Unity Grill, said she was overwhelmed by the response to their campaign to raise the funds to pay for a commercial kitchen. She said that thanks to the generosity of Scottish supporters for the project, it was now well on track to open in spring 2017.

The target has now been stretched to £7,000, to cover furniture for the restaurant.

McNay said: “It is inspiring and encouraging to know so many people are invested in this project. The generosity people have shown is incredible. It makes me believe that people are ready for change and they’re willing to support it.

“Now we can start the process of getting the space ready to open. Many people have already offered to help with the refit and we are looking forward to the future of Unity Grill.”

The aim of the Unity Grill as a social restaurant is to provide a welcome table, delicious food and community-spirited sharing in which 100 per cent of the profits will be used to challenge food poverty.

McNay said food poverty was a growing concern across the UK and Ayrshire was not immune, with the numbers using the local food bank growing year on year.

She added: “At Unity Grill we want to offer a beautiful, welcome space where the local community can come and enjoy a meal, or just a coffee together. Those profits will be used to help pay for a meal for those who cannot afford it. We are not offering something for nothing. Those in need can volunteer an hour of their time in return for a voucher, helping to restore some of the dignity food poverty takes away.”

McNay stressed that the restaurant would not be about charity, but would be about involving the community, and that anyone receiving a free meal would be able to help the project in non-financial ways if they chose.

“We believe that sharing food can help break down barriers and social isolation that food poverty creates. Unity Grill will aim to help alleviate hunger in a meaningful, communitarian way by allowing those who cannot afford to pay the chance to sit at our table with those who can,” she added.

She said the restaurant would also be about removing the stigma of having to use the food bank, as food poverty is a growing concern across the UK.

“We’ll offer valuable volunteering opportunities to those who have time to give and those with skills to gain," said McNay. "There will be genuine opportunities for the volunteers to learn new skills and gain qualifications that could lead to employment. I am so grateful for the generosity, not only financially but it other ways too. I would really urge the wider community to pledge to help get Unity Grill going. It has a far wider reach than just the local community.”

If you want to help the Unity Grill reach their new target of £7,000 by January 8, go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/unity-grill.

Source: The National