I recently visited the Umbrella Community Centre which incorporates Consett Community Fridge. It is a community interest company* located in the centre of Consett.

Before the restrictions imposed by Covid -19, the centre provided a three course Community Meal on Tuesdays and an accessible Community Fridge offering fresh produce three times weekly. Undaunted by the changes, the volunteers adapted to provide a takeaway and delivery service to those in need of a hot meal and food parcels.

This service is well used and the centre has over 400 people on their books, which include the elderly, families on low income and the vulnerable.

The aim of this company is to provide a warm, sociable, positive, welcoming, non judgmental environment and that was certainly the case when I visited with one of my colleagues from Consett Rotary Club. Suitably impressed by the amount of work that goes in to making this facility available for those who rely on and look forward to it, at Consett Rotary we made the decision to fund their excellent work with a monetary donation and hopefully more support in the future.

Urszula Dabek who runs and facilitates the centre explained, ‘The food stocks we use to cook with and share via the fridge are supplied through our annual subscription membership with FareShare. We receive donations from The Co-op and Tesco as well as other local companies. We can accept monetary donations and do our own fundraising.’

The centre receive referrals from local Social Services, Consett Food Bank and Jobcentre Plus as Urszula explained, ‘Many of our clients live in social housing, are on benefits, and/or are on severely low incomes.

Therefore this collective project aims are to:

Improve physical and mental health needs; give access to support and provide a healthy and filling 3 course meal.
Help to reduce social isolation, anti-social behaviour and the possibility of harm and criminal activities.
Help residents by signposting them to other agencies that can help where necessary.’

By providing this excellent service Urszula, her co-workers and volunteers are able to look after and serve those in our community who are in need and rely on help and compassion. For more information please feel free to contact Urszula Dabek on 07539643904

*A community interest company is a type of company introduced by the United Kingdom government in 2005 under the Companies Act 2004, designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good.

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