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The Teapot Project hosts 'pay as you feel' Boxing Day lunch at Ipswich's La Tour Cycle Café

PUBLISHED: 16:40 26 December 2016

The Teapot Project Boxing Day lunch at La Tour in Ipswich.

The Teapot Project Boxing Day lunch at La Tour in Ipswich.

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Everyone should be able to enjoy a meal with company at Christmas.

The Teapot Project Boxing Day lunch at La Tour in Ipswich. Pictured is John Moir and Mischa Pearson.The Teapot Project Boxing Day lunch at La Tour in Ipswich. Pictured is John Moir and Mischa Pearson.

This is what volunteers at The Teapot Project believe, and it’s why they organised a ‘pay as you feel’ Boxing Day lunch in Ipswich that was open to all.

Around 50 people attended the event at La Tour Cycle Café this afternoon, including families as well as homeless and isolated people.

Mischa Pearson, founder of The Teapot Project, said: “It’s a community thing but because it’s pay as you feel we do get quite a few of the most vulnerable of our community coming down.

“I think the most important thing is getting everyone together and also because we have teapots laying around people can throw in what they can and there’s none of that awkward till exchange.”

The Teapot Project Boxing Day lunch at La Tour in Ipswich. Pictured is Sam Browes.The Teapot Project Boxing Day lunch at La Tour in Ipswich. Pictured is Sam Browes.

Food on offer had either been donated, was surplus from supermarkets or was bought from money raised at a charitable music night at the Swan pub last week.

John Moir is a homeless man who is volunteering for the Teapot Project.

Today he was helping to wash the dishes while soaking up the festive atmosphere.

He said: “It’s great for the homeless and members of the public.”

The Teapot Project Boxing Day lunch at La Tour in Ipswich.The Teapot Project Boxing Day lunch at La Tour in Ipswich.

Founder of Suffolk Feminist Society Helen Taylor was also at the event.

She said: “This ticks loads of boxes, it’s helping the environment, it’s helping the homeless and it’s helping people who may be on their own at Christmas who can come down here and be with lots of other people instead of being on their own.”

Sam Browes is a chef for the Leeds branch of the Real Junk Food Project, to which The Teapot Project is affiliated.

Brought up in Suffolk, Mr Browes offered to volunteer at the lunch.

He said: “I feel like it’s always been the case that a stupid amount of food is wasted, but it does seem to be getting worse.

“We are destroying the planet with the amount of food that is grown and animals that are reared and not sold and wasted. It’s really pointless and futile if it doesn’t end up making its way into someone’s belly - our slogan is: ‘feed bellies, not bins’.”

The Boxing Day lunch almost didn’t happened after the ceiling of The Teapot Project’s temporary home in Upper Orwell Street collapsed three weeks ago due to a leak.

But Anna Matthews from La Tour stepped in last minute to save the day and offered her café to host the event.

The Teapot Project, a community interest company, has made links with local restaurants and supermarkets and intercepts food that would otherwise be thrown away.

It started out life as a café based in an Ipswich pub, feeding the hungry on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis.

But in May it was given three weeks’ notice to find a new space after the pub’s management announced new plans for the site.

The Co-op has offered Mischa a space in its Upper Orwell Street unit rent-free until May next year, and the Teapot team is currently bidding for cash in order to buy a permanent premises.

Mischa added: “I think the community needs places like La Tour and us that will open its doors to everyone and there’s no financial barrier.”

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