Creating magic with the Aviva Community Fund

(Advertisement feature with the Aviva Community Fund.)

What value do you put on food that others throw away?

Roughly a third of all food produced for human consumption worldwide goes to waste. That’s roughly 1.3 billion tonnes (view source). The water required to produce all of this waste food is also going to waste, not to mention the energy consumption. There are also far too many people in the world going hungry and if even a tiny portion of this waste could be diverted we could save a lot of lives and feed a lot of people.

Every Friday night a community comes together to do just this. The Magic Hat Café are doing a wonderful thing to make this happen. With the help of the Aviva Community Fund they can now grow this project to enable them to reach more people and divert more food from landfill.Magic Hat Cafe Sign Outside

This anti-food waste pop-up café currently runs every Friday evening from 5.30-8pm, serving food made entirely from 100% fresh surplus ingredients and served on a pay-as-you-feel basis. They rescue waste food from local supermarkets, restaurants, catering companies and even the odd university research project. Some surplus food from supermarkets already goes to food banks and local charities, but when perfectly good food is destined for landfill then The Magic Hat Café steps in and turns landfill food into beautifully cooked meals.

Too many of us take for granted the simple pleasure of eating and socialising with friends and don’t think twice about heading to a restaurant or pub for a Friday night treat. But what if you can’t afford to go out and eat?

Group of Friends Eating

The generosity of the community at the Magic Hat Café is genuinely humbling. Generosity isn’t always about money either. Time, skills, knowledge and a real passion to be more sustainable drive this project.

On an average night, they can serve around 200 people and the pay-as-you-feel system works where you can pay in money, time, skills or even just customer feedback. The tables are decorated with upcycled jars and wooden spoons and food is served at your table giving it a real café feel. Everyone is encouraged to clear their own tables and even wash their own dishes.

The Aviva Community Fund supports and celebrates groups that work hard in the community and make a difference. Since the fund began 4 years ago, there have been more than 15,000 entrants and more than 2,000 winners who have benefited from support and funding allowing them to continue the work they do in their local communities. The Fund truly supports groups from their grass roots, helping to build stronger communities together.

Local projects submitted for life-changing funding in three categories; Health & Wellbeing, Environment or Skills for Life. Lucky groups are awarded the funding to help future-proof their projects for the challenges of tomorrow. Groups up and down the country also can also access ‘money than money’ support through toolkits advising the groups when they want to shout about their great work.

The Magic Hat Café secured funding this year and it’s going to go directly back into the community. They’re going to add the award to their recent crowdfunding campaign and the hunt is on for a more permanent solution to the project. The hope is to move into their own premises close to Newcastle city centre and run longer hours into the weekend. They’ll be able to divert more food from landfill, reach more people in need of little or no cost food and spread the word about sustainability and food waste.

Kitchen Volunteer 2

This doesn’t mean they’re leaving their roots behind though; the Aviva Community Fund means they can leave a legacy in Byker and help the local community to carry on with the café and market themselves. The funding will enable them to help train them in the various roles needed to run the project.

The community spirit is huge in this little café and people turn up every week as a treat and share in the joy that is eating together. This is more than a small community though, its message and purpose brings together a worldwide community that is trying to save the planet, one loaf of bread at a time.

Check out the 2018 Winners! 

The 2018 Aviva Community Fund winners have been announced– check out the Aviva website to see which groups secured support and funding this year! Visit

Images credit: All images courtesy of Lucy Prescott Photography


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