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Food for thought at Podsmead community café

by | Aug 1, 2018 | Evolving Communities Consultancy, Local Healthwatch

Residents without a car on a housing estate in Gloucester say they find it hard to access fresh, affordable food – according to a survey carried out recently.

Around 50 people went to a free community meal at The Melting Pot Community Café in Podsmead and were asked about food options and choices on the estate.

Community researchers from Evolving Communities’ Food & Families project and staff from Healthwatch Gloucestershire asked Podsmead residents for their thoughts about all things food related as part of a wider project for Gloucestershire Public Health.

The survey revealed:

  • Access to affordable, fresh food is an issue for residents without a car.
  • Residents were in favour of a mini supermarket selling affordable fresh and good quality food on the estate.
  • Some residents were concerned that unhealthy food is cheap while fresh healthy food is expensive.
  • Busy mums said they welcome any ideas for quick, cheap and healthy meals, especially for fussy eaters.
  • Some residents are interested in sharing and developing skills around cooking and growing food.
  • The idea of a food collection/donation point for people to utilise and share surplus/waste food was popular.

Gerry Cooney, from the Food & Families Project, said:

“We want to discover what is important to people who live in Podsmead and what would improve food options and choices from their perspective.  This will be fed back to Gloucestershire Public Health, who are funding this project, so that any future improvements will be relevant and useful for residents.

“The community meal had a joint purpose.  It helped to promote the recently refurbished community café and to get a captive audience for our research.  While residents enjoyed a free meal, my research team, which included residents from the estate, asked them questions.


“We wanted to discover where they buy food locally and why, how they get there, what good food means to them, favourite meals and recipes, if they love or hate cooking, views on kid’s food, food waste and what they think could improve food choices.


“Many thanks to everyone, especially Podsmead residents, who helped make it such a great community event.”

Josie Betton , Melting Pot Café manager, cooked a special Caribbean themed menu as part of the event.  She said:

“It was hard work but I got plenty of help from residents in serving and washing up.  I was really pleased with how it went and I’d like to do something like that again.  I want to give something back to the community who are supporting the Melting Pot Café.


“People need to know they are being listened to, so now we need to tell people what was found out from the questionnaires and what will happen next.”

Kay Campbell, a resident from Podsmead and a researcher for the project added:

“It was a brilliant idea to bring people together and get ideas for making an even better community.  People were quite open minded in giving their views and I think it helped that we were all getting together as residents, so they didn’t feel invaded.”

The Food & Families research project is run by Evolving Communities and funded by Gloucestershire Public Health.  The data from this event (and related research), will be analysed and shared in the coming months.

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