Community champions at Nationwide Building Society based in Swindon have responded to an appeal from two linked charities to help grow and prepare food.
Helen Algar, manager of community champions groups across Nationwide, visited the Olive Tree Café on 27 February to present a cheque for £1,800 which has funded a industry strength mixing machine to replace one which wasn’t up to the job in an increasingly busy cafe located at Manor Garden Centre.
The cafe provides positive, work-related opportunities to people who are recovering from or at risk of suffering mental illness. Cafe manager Phyllida Richards said: "The mixing machine is wonderful. It allows us to prepare all manner of food in larger quantities and more important it can be operated safely by both volunteers who work in the cafe as well as paid staff. The grant has also paid for a machine to toast panini’s which are in great demand.
"The Olive Tree is becoming more and more successful since we started offering more than just snacks, sandwiches and paninis. Our quiches and specials are really popular so we need better equipment so that we can serve our customers better. The help from Nationwide is really making a difference."
Twigs, which is also based next to the cafe at Manor Garden Centre, in Cheney Manor provides creative occupational opportunities for up to 80 people who are looking to move forward on their recovery journey. Helen presented Twigs administrator Ida Walker with a cheque for £2,028 (below) to fund the conversion of an open space between the Olive Tree and the Twigs garden into a kitchen garden where vegetables and fruit will be grown to supply the cafe.
Stephen Uden, Head of Citizenship at Nationwide Building Society said: “Getting involved with local charities is fundamentally important to Nationwide and many of our employees here in Swindon. It’s great to see staff from across the business coming together to develop fundraising activity and direct grants to good causes. The Olive Tree Café and Twigs are doing some great work and it is a pleasure to be able to support these charities.”
Community Champions are a group of passionate Nationwide employees from all areas of the business who help drive our Citizenship agenda through fundraising events, organising volunteering opportunities and meeting every month to award grants to local charities. Last year this group awarded over £28,000 to local charities and submission can be made online
Photos: Richard Wintle of Calyx