Community stars raise funds to support Loughborough Junction
by Emily Herbert
The Platform Cafe at Loughborough Junction has turned to crowdfunding after going above and beyond to support the local community over lockdown.
Forced to scale down on day-to-day service when lockdown began last year, the cafe chose to return to its roots as a hub for the community.
A fundraising drive at the start of the pandemic allowed them to provide over 2000 free meals for local people experiencing hardship. They employed a local chef and coordinated a team of volunteers to deliver food to people isolating. Volunteers were assigned to specific deliveries, allowing them to check in each week with the same people, offering a constant point of support and connection as well as regular healthy meals.
Johanna Gilmour, an organiser, said of the free meal offer: “It allowed us to connect to people in parts of the community that we wouldn’t normally, in quite a deep and important way”.
One year on from the first lockdown, the cafe is asking for financial help to sustain their community support and keep them up and running.
Money from the crowdfunder will allow the cafe to consolidate their work from the past year, sustaining their offer of free meals. It would also allow them to use their indoor space for community events by funding infrastructure for outdoor dining.
They have established strong links with local projects such as the Max Roach Summer of Play and Carers for Carers events.
The Platform Cafe began as an opportunity to get local chefs cooking, demonstrating the rich diversity of the area, and they continue to host a local guest chef on Fridays. They use the fresh vegetables and herbs grown on site, as well as taking on surplus food from across the city. The ethos of the cafe has always been about promoting inclusivity, community support and zero waste.
You can donate to their crowdfunder here.
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