Bringing people together through food:
An International Pop-Up Café for Rochdale
Rochdale, like many cities in the North West, is undergoing considerable economic and demographic change. As some industries move out, and as new people move in, the networks that hold communities together can sometimes be put under pressure. This can result in some people feeling threatened, unwelcome or unsettled.
A tried and tested way of getting strangers to become better neighbours and closer friends is through the breaking of bread, the sharing of food. St Chad’s and St Mary’s Churches in Rochdale, and PRAGMA, a Greater Manchester charity, are planning to apply for a grant from the Near Neighbours Programme (administered by the Church Urban Fund) to run an international pop-up café.
The International Pop-up Café:
- We plan to operate for a period of 1 to 2 weeks only.
- Each evening, or lunchtime, representatives from one of Rochdale’s many diverse communities will take over a kitchen and cook a traditional meal with food typical of their culture.
- We will invite people, from across Rochdale’s ethnic groups, to share this food together.
The volunteer cooks and their teams, as well as cooking, will explain:
- Where they and their families originally come from
- How they find themselves in Rochdale
- The ingredients used in the meal
- The food that has been prepared today; how it was cooked, what it means in our culture
- Our customs and traditions of eating together
- Recipe cards will be available, free of charge
Who we will invite to cook:
We want as broad a representation of Rochdale communities as possible.
As well as long-established Lancastrian we will invite Rochdale-based volunteer cooking teams from:
- The Ukraine
- and representatives from Rochdale’s twin cities in France and Germany, as well as other groups that might put themselves forward.
Who will we invite for food?
We want people to be introduced to new neighbours, new cultures and new faiths through food. Everyone will be welcome – our intention is to have as broad a “guest list” as possible. The aim is not, for example, to provide Chinese food primarily for Chinese people. The meal will be a chance for social interaction and will be an example of social action.
Our next step:
We want to discuss the idea with local people and to get their comments, ideas and commitment. To this end we are holding a meeting at 11 am on October 4th at St Chad’s Church, Sparrow Hill, Rochdale, OL16 1QT. The Church is fully accessible
We will be inviting as many representatives of Rochdale’s ethnic communities as possible.
We will discuss:
- The idea itself
- The capacity to run a café for two weeks
- Format; evening, or lunchtime, set menu or a la carte
- Volunteers; recruiting, training, insuring, etc
- Charging policy
- Marketing and publicity
- Project management
- If there is a consensus to proceed we will then make contact with the Near Neighbours local co-ordinator asking for help in submitting a bid.
If you think this is a good idea and you’d like to join us, or to find out more about what we have planned, please contact either: