SAVVY charity workers are brewing up a novel fundraising scheme – running their own tea plantation.
Lochend-based Cyrenians plans to harvest its own organic blend in partnership with the Scottish War Blinded in Wilkieston, West Lothian.
A near £200,000 grant from the Morrisons Foundation will kick off the project, as well as help fund a new campaign to end loneliness.
The Something to Eat, Someone to Eat With initiative will see people learn to grow and cook their own food and make friendships.
“Once you make growing and cooking a sociable activity, people start to enjoy it and learn new skills,” said programme manager Marlyn Bald.
The programme has trained 11 staff and volunteers from Cyrenians and other charities to enable them to deliver cooking classes.
Money from the Morrisons Foundation will also help expand existing services at the Cyrenians Farm Enterprise.
It grows vegetables in a polytunnel at Kirknewton for sale to city office workers, helping disadvantaged families and homeless young people.
The charity will also use the cash to run two healthy food training courses which help people to design and deliver their own cooking class programmes.
And it will help improve facilities where staff, volunteers and residents congregate for meetings, breaks and lunch.
A new communal lunch club at Cyrenians Fareshare and Food Education depot will also be set up.
The grant also helped the charity to run two vans which collect surplus food from supermarkets and restaurants across Edinburgh and the Lothians.
More families will benefit from fresh food donations in the expanded service. Cyrenians’ client, Vicky, described the programme as “life-changing.”
Training course attendee, Jimmy, said: “I take the menus I’ve been given each week from the course to help me do my shopping and help me decide what stuff I want to cook.
“I’ve not had a takeaway in three months because I can make it cheaper, I can make it better and you know you’re the one who’s made it so it’s brilliant!
“And now I’m going to help with the Community Cook Club so my time with Cyrenians has helped me but now I can start giving back to other people too.”
The Morrisons Foundation was set up by Morrisons supermarkets in 2015 and receives most of its funding from the sale of single-use carrier bags.
Since its launch, more than £10 million has been donated to charities for local community projects which help to improve people’s lives.
“We are delighted to help Cyrenians develop the Something To Eat, Someone To Eat With programme in West Lothian,” said the Morrisons Foundation’s Sam Burden.
“It will provide food for local families and give many people the chance they need to help find their way in life.”