Yes I don’t post anywhere near the amount I should to get a blog going but that’s because of real life getting in the way of important stuff, I promise to try to do better!
Anyway, I heart Twitter, you guys may know that already. I follow (and am honoured to be followed by) a bunch of truly great women and men who are concerned with the polarisation of wealth, opportunity and nutrition in this country.
The very lovely Sandra Bradley (who writes this rather brilliant blog about how to keep home costs down,) came up with the really good idea of bringing back British Restaurants as per WWII but with an update to make them relevant for now.
Of course the creative and wonderful women I follow wouldn’t let it just stop there and came up with some great ideas for the kinds of things that people really need to help them move forward and eat well. But, you KNEW there would be a but, this kind of idea wouldn’t get off the ground if it was just us – sad but true fact, you don’t get ideas like this launched without somebody who is a) famous or b) already recognised as a voice for this kind of work. Hmm, so who do we know that would fit this particular set of requirements, yes, everyone’s favourite Essex chief and campaigner Mr Jamie Oliver!!!!
So here, is the first draught of my open letter to Mr Oliver:
Dear Mr Oliver,
As you are more than aware the state of nutrition in this country is (in certain areas) dire, a group of us who are concerned about this talk to each other on Twitter and thought that bringing back the idea of the British Restaurant. The British Restaurant, as you may already know, was set up by the Ministry of Food during World War 2 as communal kitchens to ensure that communities and people who had run out of rations had enough to eat. The Restaurants were run by local communities on a non-profit basis and meals were purchased at a set price.
The need for people in this country for people to just eat is seen through the various food banks set up around the country such as this food bank in Stockport http://stockportsouth.foodbank.org.uk/ or the queues that can be seen for free food anywhere it is available. I’d suggest looking at the queues at the Hare Krishna donations at Senate House.
I’m sure none of that is news to somebody who campaigns on nutrition, we think that something set up in a similar way to Food Revolution combined with the ideas of the British Restaurant are sadly needed at this time.
We envisage a location that provides affordable, nutritionally high value meals available at the front with education at the back end. Education taking the form of teaching people how to cook, budgeting, what is high quality and what is low quality and above all else how to do this cheaply. There would be the opportunity to engage other professionals at the back end (in the manner of Crisis at Christmas) to help people who are having issues with money/benefits/writing cv’s/getting back to work. We think that initially it would start with volunteers but could quickly be taken over by those it was designed to help, which in turn would provide much needed bulk to many peoples cv’s whilst teaching valuable skills for the workplace such as computer literacy.
Local businesses could contribute food that would otherwise go to waste to help keep down costs and boost the local community. There are some amazing blogs out there about how to budget etc during this time of economic crisis and we could try to involve those bloggers in teaching their skills in workshops etc.
This is of course a long time commitment and investment in local communities and a huge undertaking but we can’t be the only people in the country thinking of this. We would suggest a pilot scheme in a few under privileged areas to see if it could be rolled out across the country.
We know you are very busy but really hope that you could find the time to consider this proposal, I’m more than willing to discuss this with you at any time.
Right, how do you feel about this, please leave comments and I’ll amend as you do. Also, if any of you don’t want to be included or want the links to your twitter accounts etc taken off I’ll do that.