Grove Adventure Playground will be introducing a free breakfast bar for any children who want some fresh or healthy food each morning for the rest of the summer of 2018.
The fact that this has been put together so quickly has been due to the support of the Grove Adventure Playground Management Group and particularly the generosity of the many and varied small businesses that operate locally to Gordon Grove.
The inspiration for the project to ask the local business community to help provide free food for the children came from the difficulties we experienced trying to negotiate an ongoing free food offer (of recycled food products) from the main supermarket chains located nearby in Loughborough Junction.
Both Tesco and Co-op generously gave access to their (limited) community schemes, which amounted to one-off payments of £20 each to be put towards events being held at the adventure playground, but no ongoing food offer was available and it was hard to see how we could make this work without any available funds.
It then became clear that whilst we had been looking in the right place for contributions from the business community, but we had failed to think about those smaller, long established businesses that operated nearby to the playground on Gordon Grove.
A list of the 50+ local small businesses was prepared, sponsorship forms printed, flyers and sales pitch were all prepared and during Friday 10th July all of the businesses that were open received a visit and asked if they wanted to contribute anything upwards from 10p a day for the last 3 weeks of the summer, (£1.50 total).
However it soon became clear that the chosen strategy would bring results as the vast majority of the business owners and employees I spoke with were all very supportive of the idea about providing free food. OK, it wasn't Red Nose Day, but the small change, fivers and even the odd tenner and £20 note were handed over easily and before too long upwards of £200 had been collected, with some other promises and contacts to be followed up.
The list of companies and individuals who have contributed to date includes:
Craig Barnaby of Gordon Grove Metal Co., Kark from AGT (UK) Ltd, Lou from Lewis Ductworks, Van from Top Gear, Waleed from Oly Motors, George from Metal Works, Tristan a self employed builder and local resident, Randall from G. Hazelhurst, Ganesh from Best One Supermarket, Egor a self employed carpenter and designer, Vijay from Supreme Motors, Dan from Brixton Autos Centre, Kevin from The Green Man Enterprise Zone, Francis from Floor Fashion, Keith from Redring Property Services, Bethany from Spence Estates, Bhaveen from Junction Pharmacy and Lucy from Clarkeshaws (brewers).
Both Augusta at Co-op and Nisar at Tesco gave access to the community funds that they hold locally and ongoing efforts are being made to make a more definite arrangement for the periods the adventure playground is open.
The breakfast bar will be an experiment for the rest of the summer opening to see if the kids and parents like it and want it to continue.
We will await the feedback with interest.