Kendal Town Council

Kendal People’s Cafe


Kendal Peoples Café presented to Kendal Town Council at February’s Full Council meeting to provide an overview of the venture and its successes.

Kendal Peoples Cafe served its first customers in March 2017. In the 2 years since then it has prepared more than 5000 meals using food which would otherwise have been thrown away.

It has turned waste … into wellbeing.

It has also been recognised for its efforts by winning the Cumbria Life magazine ‘best food initiative’ award in 2018.

Based at the South Lakes Foyer, next door to Kendal bus station, the people’s cafe not only caters for customers who cannot afford to pay, both homeless and those struggling to make ends meet, but it also caters for many people who can afford to pay, and it is their contributions which help fund the rent for the foyer facilities.

This rent covers the use of those facilities for the regular Thursday food collection, the food prep session, and Thursday food share from 4pm to 5pm, and the Saturday cafe which is currently open from 11am to 2pm.

Kendal People’s Cafe, which now operates under the auspices of South Lakeland Action on Climate Change, rescues food on a weekly basis from Booths supermarket, from Parsons fruit and veg wholesalers, and Tesco and also accepts food donations from smaller, independent businesses such as Hazelmere bakery at Grange over Sands, from Watson and Woollard butchers in Kendal, and from cafes and food businesses like Red Door, Harry’s Pantry, Comida and David Willan wholesale food supplies.

Since its inception, Kendal Peoples Cafe has collected food and shared food with Sandylands Residents Association, Manna House, and with the Kendal hostels – Monkswell and Townview.

Kendal People’s Cafe also works with Simply Repair South Lakes providing food for its repair cafes and has a burgeoning partnership with Growing Well at Low Sizergh sharing food and expertise.

Kendal People’s Cafe has expansion plans. It is in talks to open a ‘sharehouse’ which would have fridges and freezers stocked with food which would otherwise have been thrown away. The facility would be manned by volunteers, opening on a regular basis for people to come and help themselves.

Also, at the request of the local NHS community nursing team, the cafe is about to trial a mealshare scheme with senior citizens in the Kendal area. If the trial is successful then food will be prepared on a Saturday specifically for vulnerable elderly in the community and delivered by volunteers.

The cafe is also looking at a ‘mealmakers’ scheme in which individual volunteers offer to make an extra portion on a regular basis and share it with an older person in need.

And, with the help of possible funding from the YWCA, the cafe’s enthusiastic cooks want to set up a project to share their culinary skills with young people, and with families. The aim will be to show that home-cooked food is not only cheaper than processed food, but it is also healthier.

All of these schemes are examples of the vital role which volunteers have played and continue to play in the success and long term viable future of Kendal People’ Cafe.

We have volunteers who collect food, and some who enjoy cooking and serving it. We have volunteers who look after the social media side of the cafe, a vital tool in helping to spread the word.

People are indeed at the heart of the cafe; like-minded people who share an abhorrence of wasting food.

Kendal People’s Cafe is helping Kendal not to waste. More important, by that same process, it is trying to help contribute towards the wellbeing of our community. To find out more visit