Sunderland mum opens new coffee house offering 'pay how you feel' menu to support those in need

A community project which has been supporting Sunderland families for three years has reached its goal of opening a coffee shop which is offering ‘pay how you feel’ meals to those in need.

Diane Richardson set up The Forage Community Project in 2018.
Diane Richardson set up The Forage Community Project in 2018.

The Forage Community Project was set up by Diane Richardson, from Sunderland in 2018 with the aim of intercepting food destined for landfill and giving it out to struggling families around Wearside.

Now, after three years of supporting families from her home, Diane has finally been able to open a coffee shop to run the project out of, on the site of the former Barmston Nursery in Washington.

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As well as offering a full menu to allow the shop to run as a business, The Forage Coffee House is also offering a landfill menu of food that would have otherwise gone to waste from supermarkets and shops, where customers can anonymously pay how they feel.

Diane Richardson (right) with members of staff at The Forage Coffee House, Shaun, Julie and Lee.

Speaking about the new coffee house, which opened last month, Diane said: “Opening the coffee shop has always been the goal since I started this project three years ago. Any bit of profit that’s been made has gone towards it and it’s brilliant to see that dream finally become real.

“Having the landfill menu gives everyone the option to come have a meal or meet with friends and pay however much they like, supporting people who may be struggling to get a meal, but also protecting the environment by reducing landfill.”

Diane sources the landfill menu from a number of local supermarkets in the area and also offers food deliveries from charity FareShare, for just £5.

She added: “The reaction since has just been fantastic. We’ve been rushed off our feet!”

With school holidays right around the corner, Diane is already making exciting plans for the future of the coffee shop, and is looking to organise eco craft and activities sessions as well as possibly starting a community garden to grow organic food.

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The Forage Coffee House is open on Westerhope Road, Barmston, in Washington every Monday-Friday from 8.30am-4.30pm.

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