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Mint Lane Café

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Mint Lane Café gives surplus food, and the people that come together to enjoy it, a new lease of life. Situated in the wellbeing centre in Lincoln, this café offers tasty and affordable meals, using food that would otherwise go to landfill.

This project is supported by Lincolnshire Food Partnership, one of our current Community Champions.

The organisation develops projects in a collaborative way, encouraging groups with a common purpose to come together to achieve more than would be possible individually.

Working with local groups to promote sustainable action for greener, fairer and healthier food for all is the key aim of the partnership.

A range of services receive valuable support from the partnership, from community pantries to local allotments. There are plans to expand further, and offer further educational resources, community bakeries and social supermarkets, too.

By supporting Lincolnshire Food Partnership through our Community Champions scheme, we’re able to help several projects - such as Mint Lane Café.

The community café has three main aims; to reduce food waste and food poverty, and to provide friendship through food.

Totally reliant on donations, all food available in the café has been provided by shops, organisations such as FareShare, or good-willed members of the public.

Using food that would otherwise go to waste not only has environmental implications, it means produce can be sold cheaply to those that need it.

The large tables allow for social eating, meaning that people who are socially isolated or are struggling with mental health issues can eat with others, meet people in similar circumstances, and have a shared experience.

CJ Drinkall, General Manager at Mint Lane Café, said: “It’s not a formal environment, you don’t have to come here and talk about your feelings necessarily, but it’s an opportunity for general conversation and company.”

Asides from tasty and affordable food, the café also provides training for volunteers, meeting rooms, and counselling services are available at the site, too.

Furthermore, the café maintains and develops strong links with other social projects around the county, meaning that they can signpost to other groups if someone comes in requiring a facility that they aren’t able to provide.

Prior to Covid-19, CJ ran a local coffee shop in Lincoln, and began working in Mint Lane Café in July.

“In my previous shop, I loved the feeling of community. I think that’s something that worked well - without me even having to do much to make it happen,” says CJ.

“To see how that worked without it even being managed makes me sure that, with a bit of care, attention and hard work in the right places, we can create an environment that really works for the service users.”

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