The Random Café team have been working so hard to make their home – at our very own Meriden Gardens – the perfect community space. Read on to find out how their work is progressing.
Random Café is a not-for-profit organisation with the aim of reducing food waste and improving sustainability in Watford. They collect food from supermarkets and shops that would have otherwise been thrown away – due to the packaging or overstock – and sell it at their pop-up café on a pay as you feel basis. This has led to them preventing around 65 tonnes of food from going to waste!
The café had been looking for a permanent home for over three years and in that time they have utilised many of our hubs – including having their pop-up shop in our Leavesden Green Hub since the beginning of the pandemic. In October 2020 we were very happy to be able to offer Random Café a permanent home in the Meriden Community Gardens.
After a huge amount of clearing and cleaning – including removal of the ripped polytunnel, abandoned pallets, and 3-foot tall weeds that were taking over - they could finally start building. 90% of the raised beds have been refurbished and painted and vegetables such as beetroot, broad beans and garlic have been planted. Large and small polytunnels have been completely refurbished, and they bought a Keder Greenhouse to grow lovely little plants which they intend to sell – keep an eye out on their social media for more details! They also just received planning permission to build their permanent café!
The next step is to complete the garages which will be the temporary home of their pop-up shop – from next month – until the café is completed and ready for them to move in.
We have worked with Random Café for a long time and are proud to have been able to supply them with a permanent home. Jane Johnson, founder of Random Café, said: “It’s been great working with Watford Community Housing - they are very supportive and are always willing to listen. They are very community-oriented which aligns perfectly with we want to do. We want this café and these gardens to be for the community and for people who want to get out and socialise. I am very excited for what is to come and to finally move into Meriden Gardens!”
Although weather and lockdown restrictions have slowed them down, they have still made excellent progress – it is going to be such a great community space when it is complete!