Ellon Parish Church will launch a new community project in May to help those struggling with the cost of living.
Staff and volunteers are working hard to transform what used to be the Ellon Parish Kirk Center cafe and modernize other spaces in the building
With a new vision of a food pantry, café, shop and community spaces, the goal is to offer a place for everyone.
As part of this, Elon Parish Church successfully secured £4,000 in funding from the Co-op Hubbub Community Fridge.
Ellon’s pioneer member of the co-op, Barbara Last, visited the center to meet parish worker Nicola Bruce and the church’s administrator and project volunteer Edith Walker to find out how the funding will be used by the project.
Nicola said: “Our goal is for this project to be an overall benefit to people by enabling access to affordable food, by donating and buying pre-loved items, by enabling people to reduce food waste, d ‘trade in their own surplus, as well as goods supplied from local stores, including Co-op’s Food Share program, Tesco, Bare and Newburgh Costcutter, and take advantage of the cafe which also uses local supplies.
“We encourage the circular economy, take care of our world and strengthen community spirit with many volunteer opportunities.
“The Kirk Center project is our response to the current cost of living increases and lockdowns that have impacted wellbeing and community.
“We are moving from crisis to resilience so that the project is a place where people will find what they need and access it with dignity alongside everyone, whether it is food, basic necessities, gifts, a chat, fair trade coffee or local information such as support organizations, groups or businesses. All are welcome.
“It’s a team effort that keeps things going. We are so grateful for the support from the wider community, including the 1st Ellon Boys’ Brigade, Andersons of Inverurie, Lawrence Milne, from Grampian Continental and the Community Fridge grant from Co-op.
“The community fridge is essential to the pantry and funding from Co-op Hubbub allows us to purchase the right fridge or freezer to store and redistribute the surplus.
“We are planning to purchase a glass fronted freezer initially which will allow visibility, ease of use and security. Knowing that the extra £1000 is coming after a year is a boost.”
Hubbub coordinates the world’s largest community fridge network with 250 UK community fridges and Co-op is providing funding to double the network to 500.
Nicola added: “We have found Hubbub’s support very helpful. His Community Fridge Facebook forum helps answer questions and has great spirit and celebration among those running other projects.
“We are aiming to launch in May and there is a growing buzz in the community about it. As a church, we believe our project will be a place of hope for everyone in these strange times, which does not maybe just a good thing.”
The project launched an art competition to design the Larder shopping bags. Visit ellonparishchurch.co.uk or facebook.com/ellonparishchurch for more information.