Leith Theatre: Curtain falls on ground breaking partnership tackling food poverty
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Leith Theatre and Empty Kitchens Full Hearts bid a fond farewell to each other this week having teamed up for a successful Covid partnership that delivered more than one and a quarter million meals across the city, as the food provision organisation moves into their own new permanent premises.
Lynn Morrison, Chief Exec at Leith Theatre, says, “This partnership was one that we sought out at a time when our building was closed due to Covid, but we felt that we could do something a little out of the ordinary to help support our community. Having Empty Kitchens working inside and out helped to keep life and light in the theatre during a period of darkness.”
It was back in July 2020 when the Ferry Road theatre first collaborated with Empty Kitchens, moving a fast-expanding team of chefs and volunteers into the Thomas Morton Hall and kitchen space.
The need for the service grew rapidly as the pandemic took hold. In an already challenging building there were operational difficulties to overcome but the organisations worked closely together, ensuring the service was able to expand and accommodate the rising demand across the city.Together, Empty Kitchens and Leith Theatre have ensured more than 1.25 million meals have been prepared, cooked and delivered with the help of more than 1,200 volunteers through the doors.
Empty Kitchens will now continue their work in the community from a new site in Granton. The purpose-modified premises at 3-11 West Granton Road include fully kitted out kitchens, food preparation areas and packing hall. The new site has been designed by design collective DC Design who have all volunteered with Empty Kitchens Full Hearts over the last year and have designed the building with the needs of volunteers and service users foremost.
Morrison continues, “It is all credit to Empty Kitchen’s amazing team of volunteers and staff; chefs, packers, drivers and cheery receptionists included; what they have achieved is incredible.
“It has been a pleasure watching the organisation operate within our building and now they’re ready to operate out of their own premises, there is no question that we will miss being part of this important service and extra-ordinary team.”
Dylan Childs, Operations Manager at Empty Kitchens, adds, “We could not have moved from being a Covid project to a full going concern if not for the space afforded to us by Leith Theatre. It has been incredible to see how people pulled together at the start of the crisis to become such a brilliant team of staff, chefs and volunteers.
“The service is still desperately needed in this city. With the removal of the Universal Credit uplift, and rapidly rising food and fuel costs, more and more people will be struggling to manage. We’re sorry to be leaving Leith Theatre but very excited to start this new chapter for our organisation.”
Empty Kitchens Full Hearts' operation relies heavily on volunteer time, donated food and kind donations for running costs. If you would like to donate or volunteer your time, please clcik here