‘The Well’ – Tackling covid-crises on and around our campus community
You know Milk & Honey café? Non-profit, veggie, volunteer-run café; all big-heart-and-dreams, eco-goals, excellent coffee and cosy corners… Well, things look a little different round here right now, but we’ve gone nowhere. You can’t put a closed sign on a vision like this….
Like the rest of the world, covid-19 caught us out… but then it made us get creative. Open a socially-distanced café with a side order of anxiety with every americano…? That didn’t sound much like the loved place of community that we know.
What we do know is that there’s some BIG and DEEP need on and around campus – right amongst the community that we’ve loved serving at Milk & Honey over the past few years. Food and financial need; social, emotional and wellbeing need…. needs that are growing because of covid-19, and that will accelerate as the ‘new normal’ emerges.
We’re looking forward to the day when we can re-open Milk & Honey in a way that puts the needs of our community first and brings people together in a safe, beautiful and meaningful way. Until then, we’ll find creative ways to use what we’ve got to do our thing, and taken the hard decision to stay closed for now and pour all our love and energy into The Well.
Throughout autumn/winter we’ll be accepting referrals from partners on campus and in our neighbouring communities. We’ll then provide people with twice-weekly ‘Well Packs’ that will include food, recipes, and access to online cooking classes and our ‘Wholeness’ programme including pilates, mindfulness, yoga and live community events. Depending on individual need we’ll tailor each pack so that meals can be pre-cooked if required, but we hope overall to increase cooking skills and confidence so where possible will be giving the ingredients and providing the know-how!
We know that, as ever, those most affected by the challenges of living with new covid realities will be those already facing the highest number of barriers – for example young care leavers, those living with chronic ill-health or disabilities, or people struggling with mental wellbeing. We also know that social isolation is becoming an all-too-real part of many people’s lives, and so have remodelled our volunteer programme to create covid-secure roles and opportunities to begin to rebuild the lovely community that has breathed life and given purpose to our work the past few years. The Well will very much be a holistic project – not just food, but cooking together; not just online wellbeing classes, but human-connection to make the soul sing.
Like you, we miss Milk & Honey. We miss the buzz and bustle. But some hard decisions are the right ones, and this feels like a good way to serve our community right now. There are lots of ways to get involved and support The Well… just as Milk & Honey was powered by volunteers who showed up every day and believed in a better city, now more than ever The Well needs People Power to get good things going. Please keep an eye on our social media for more over the coming weeks – we have much to share.
All Will Be Well.