A chef, a cafe and a community creating change

A chef, a cafe and a community creating change

Stuart Fraser wanted to make Broughton and Salford a better place for locals to live in. The trained chef grew up in Broughton and keeps the community close to his heart. “My motivation for doing it is to be one little piece of a group of people trying to make Broughton and Salford better.”

His idea, Sourced in Salford, began with a supper club. Every Friday they take over the Naz Community Hall in Broughton. They offer two-course meals for just £2, using potential food waste and Stuart’s culinary skills to cook restaurant-quality meals.

“That’s what Sourced in Salford is about, it’s about cheap food, it’s about food waste, it’s about bringing people together.”

For Stuart, keeping the cost for diners low has always been a major part of what Sourced in Salford does –  “If you’ve not got a thriving social life because you don’t have the money to have a thriving social life, well what do you do on a friday as a treat? You come to supper club on a Friday and get waited on at a restaurant, but it only costs you £2.”

The big new idea

Stuart Fraser, founder of Sourced in Salford, a community supper club backed through spaces4change

Photograph: © Chelsi Southern

But the Friday supper clubs are just part of what Sourced in Salford wants to become. Opening soon is the Salford Lifestyle Centre Cafe and Our Bar.

With the help of funding and support from UnLtd’s Spaces4Change, Stuart has secured a location inside the soon to open Salford Lifestyle Centre.

The cafe will serve a soup and sandwich meal-deal for just £2. The bar, like the rest of Sourced in Salford, is completely dry and will serve non-alcoholic drinks such as  smoothies, juices and cocktails .

The dry bar, like the alcohol-free supper clubs, offer the local recovery community a place to enjoy a night out. Something which can be in short supply according to Stuart, “you think of the places don’t serve alcohol, it’s not a huge list. A lot of people from the recovery community aren’t at a stage where they can go to places that serve alcohol.”

For Stuart, expanding what Sourced in Salford offered was important. “I love doing supper club, I love doing what we do, I need it. But also the people we work with need us to be doing it more than once a week.”

Opening a cafe offers people that don’t have a lot of money another chance to go out and enjoy themselves. And Our Bar will offer people in the recovery community another place to socialise.

“What we do is very very small, but it is a contributing factor. If 200 people do something else, then we’re one of 200 people making Salford and Broughton better and then you can start to change things.”

Community – ‘People care about it and they get involved’

The plan for the cafe and bar is to continue providing a place that serves good food at affordable prices. A place that people can look forward to going to.

Stuart is certainly the driving force behind everything – he made the switch from full-time chef to part-time in order to run Sourced in Salford – but part of the brilliance of the project is its community. “I think we’ve managed to create something that people can get behind and feel is theirs”.

Sourced in Salford offers cheap, high-quality meals for the community

Photograph: © Chelsi Southern 

Community was part of the original driving force behind Sourced in Salford, “it had to something for and by the community because I live here, my dad’s a community worker here, it had to be something rooted in the local area.”

Some of that community spirit comes almost naturally. Friendships and relationships form over time at the supper club.

But Stuart also works to ensure that everything they do is grounded in the community he lives and works in. Its epitomized in the naming of the new bar, “Our Bar”. According to Stuart, “people from the recovery community that we work with kept on asking how ‘our’ bar was coming on and it just stuck.”

It extends to giving people a real say in how Sourced in Salford is run. Take the story of Sheila. She attended one of Sourced in Salford’s first ever supper clubs and kept on coming back. Cut to last week and Stuart was thanking her for her hard work as a member of Sourced in Salford’s board of directors.

“After the first few months she moved from being a diner to being a member of our board of directors. She sits in meetings and helps us choose the course that we will take. And that progress has been over the last eleven months from being a diner to then actually helping to run the CIC.”

Similarly, the new bar will have a steering group that will meet regularly for people that don’t want to make the full step of being a board member, but do want to have their say. “That’s one thing we don’t struggle for in Broughton, for people to tell me what they think. It’s about how you harness that”.

Making a difference

Finding the initial funding was a struggle, “‘we were very lucky that having been looking for six months that UnLtd came through and we were able to start thanks to our Do It Award”. But for Stuart it was worth it, ‘people care about it, that’s the thing I’m proudest of. That people have connected to it and are proud of it is what really pleases me’

There have been touching moments too, when the value of Sourced in Salford’s safe space became clear. One woman staying in recovery is a regular at the supper club, “they turned round to me one day and said, ‘Stuart, this is the highlight of my week, I’ve been looking forward to it since last week’, it is a safe place to come to and a place where people are happy. That’s important”.

(All images used are courtesy of Chelsi Southern ©)
Got an idea to transform a space in your community?

Spaces 4 Change (S4C) is a UK wide programme that will find, fund, support and connect young people aged 16-24 to start and run social ventures that unlock the potential of unused or under-utilised spaces for the benefit of the local community, especially other young people.

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