Community Food Centre

So long and thanks for all the food, fun and farming

After 2 and a half fantastic years the Community Food Centre is closing this June 2019. With something in the region of 120 meals cooked, 150ish new friends made and 250 bags provided to people on a low income it’s been a really successful project.

Feedback from participants, many of whom are socially isolated, on very low incomes and suffer from long term illness, tell us that we’ve enabled people to:

  • eat more healthily,
  • de-stress,
  • engage with supportive adults/make friends AND
  • inspired people to do more cooking, exercise, and get outdoors.

What more could we ask? Just more of it please!


So what’s next?

Smiley squash
Turn that frown upside down!

Sims Hill is passionate about using our resources to include and empower people who are socially and/or economically marginalised. So whilst this is farewell it will not be goodbye. Our funding has run out for this particular project but we’re re-grouping to take this experience and develop something new and more sustainable.


A big thank you…

To the many attendees of the Community Food Centre: thanks so much for being part of it, you made it what it was! Thanks for supporting each other and offering a judgement free zone. Thanks if you helped on the land, thanks if you weren’t well enough but stuck it out with us and offered support and conversation from the sidelines. Thanks for chopping veg, building the fire, debating the ‘correct’ amount of garlic, making the teas and doing the washing up: so many of the little moments that make up real life and connection. Thanks for making the (sometimes difficult) choice to get out of bed that morning, brave the bus system and come and spend the day with the rest of us. You’ve been wonderful.

Please note: THIS is the correct amount of garlic.

Special thanks too to all the supporters of the Community Food Centre. Thanks to the board and members of Sims Hill who enabled this very special project to come into being and looked after us behind the scenes. Thanks to financial donors and visitors to our open lunches, especially our wider Feed Bristol community. Extra special thanks to volunteer leader, Helen, who quietly makes everything run smoothly and oozes warmth, even whilst scrubbing sooty pans. And a massive thanks to James and Chloe for being ever flexible and patient with our continually changing needs and inspiring us to be better stewards of the land.

Ta Ta for now.

Please note this project is no longer running or accepting referrals. The following information relates to a project that is now closed.

The Community Food Centre is a free, open group that meets every Thursday 10 – 4pm on the beautiful Avon Wildlife Trust site (Feed Bristol) where Sims Hill is based.

‘I love coming here. I feel the stress just drop off’

What do we do?

The group works together with Sims Hill to help grow the food we also prepare, cook and eat. We make plenty of space to chat and rest as we go – members often say that it’s their favourite day of the week and helps them to de-stress from life’s struggles.

We meet at 10am for a cup of tea before getting stuck into an activity on the farm. At 11.30 (ish) we start preparing lunch and after enjoying a leisurely lunch and a coffee, get back to the gardening.

Our community worker, Sian, facilitates the day and the growers, James and Chloe, show us what tasks we can do to help on the farm and how to do them.

Sian, our community worker

We only take on simple tasks and the aim is to have a fun, rewarding day. We don’t work at breakneck speeds, don’t worry! You don’t need any previous experience of cooking or growing, just a willingness to take part and practical clothing.

‘Coming to the group helps me feel less isolated and contributes a lot to my mental well-being’


What are we all about?

The project was born from the belief that:

  1. Eating good, nourishing and healthy food should be an option for everyone, from any and all walks of life and regardless of income;
  2. We all need connection with other people and benefit from the range of experience and knowledge of a diverse group.

Unfortunately there are still a lot of people in the UK who can’t afford to buy fresh vegetables – especially ones grown in a sustainable and healthy way – to maintain a healthy diet for them and their families. More and more people are dependent on food banks which are sadly unable to stock fresh produce. That’s why part of the work of the Community Food Centre is to provide veg bags for those members of the group who are on a low income, as well as Real Economy vouchers for organic larder items.

‘I didn’t know what to do with veg before. Now I cook all the time’

It’s not just about free veg though. We’ve found that the supportive environment often raises people’s confidence, inspires people to grow, cook or eat more healthy food, and critically gives members an all round GOOD day, in what can sometimes be a challenging life.

Want more reasons to come? See our top 5 ideas about the Community Food Centre.