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    Monday, 6 February 2017

    Unity Grill – The Social Restaurant Tackling Food Poverty

    Img: Unity Grill 
    Set to open in late spring, Unity Grill is in the works as being a way to tackle the country’s raising food poverty. Angela McNay, a mum of four living in Ayr, Scotland, came up with this ingenious idea studying her Social Policy degree at the University of the West of Scotland.

    Angela’s statement on the project’s Crowdfunder reads: ‘I became very interested in food poverty…I am appalled and the experiences of those struggling to feed themselves and want to do something to change that.’

    After volunteering at her local food bank in Prestwick for a couple of years, her experiences have opened her eyes of the extent of UK food poverty. She recognises how food poverty is a form of social isolation; for example, if invited out for a lunch by friends and not being able to afford it, you’re missing out on that socialising. This is what Unity Grill aims to reduce, advertising itself as a Social Restaurant.

    The Trussell Trust, a food bank network running over 400 food banks in the country, reports that 519,342 three day emergency food parcels have been distributed to people in crisis in the first half of 2016/17 – over 188,500 to children. Compared the 509,369 parcels distributed from the same time last year, that’s a significant rise, and without projects like Angela’s, its set to rise even higher.

    So, how will Unity Grill work? Simply, those who can afford to pay for their food will pay, the value or extra, and this is what mainly funds the restaurant. 100% of profits from this then go towards further challenging food poverty. Those who cannot afford a meal are able to volunteer an hour of their time in the restaurant, in return for a voucher.

    ‘Everyone will be welcome at our table regardless of their ability to pay,’ reads the Unity Grill Crowdfunder which reached and passed their £5,000 target on 08/01/17.

    Who pays what is kept anonymous: “We can balance that so we don’t strip people of their dignity. I’ve found most people don’t want something for nothing. If people can come in and volunteer time, they are giving back something.” The project aims to create a friendly community where anyone can enjoy great food in a harmonious atmosphere for an extremely important cause.

    Upon coming up with the idea, McNay discovered singer-songwriter Jon Bon Jovi had opened a restaurant with similar principles in New Jersey, called Soul Kitchen. As a success in the states, with now a total of three thriving outlets, McNay hopes Unity Grill follows suit in popularity and success.

    Unity Grill is set to use local food sources to boost the economy, bringing even more benefits to the restaurant. With great ideas, interest from charities and voluntary groups and the production of the restaurant underway, Unity Grill is set to be a success. Visit their Facebook and Crowdfunder pages to learn more and show your support.

    Laura Sewell

    An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry, with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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