Leith Theatre: Curtain falls on ground breaking partnership tackling food poverty

T​he curtain comes down on an 18 month partnership this week, one that has turned surplus food into healthy meals for ​people throughout the Capital, fighting food poverty and ensuring those in most need were not forgotten during the pandemic.

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Leith Theatre and Empty Kitchens Full Hearts​ ​bid a fond farewell to each other this week having teamed up for a successful Covid partnership that delivered more than one and a quarter million meals across the city, as the food provision organisation move​s​ into their ​own​ ​new ​permanent premises.

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Lynn Morrison, Chief Exec at Leith Theatre, sa​ys,​ “This partnership was one that we sought out at a time​ ​when our building was closed due to Covid, but we felt that we could do something a little out of the ordinary​ ​to help support our community. Having Empty Kitchens working inside and out helped to keep life and light in​ ​the theatre during a period of darkness.”

Staff at Leith Theatre and Empty Kitchens Full Hearts give a round of applause to all the volunteers who have taken part in fighting food poverty in the Capital

It was back in July 2020 when ​the ​Ferry Road​ t​heatre first collaborated with Empty Kitchens, moving a​ ​fast-expanding team of chefs and volunteers into the Thomas Morton Hall and kitchen space.

The need for​ ​the​ service grew rapidly as the pandemic took hold. In an already​ ​challenging building there were operational difficulties to overcome but the organisations worked closely together, ensuring the service was able to expand and accommodate the rising​ demand across the city.Together, Empty Kitchens and Leith Theatre have ensured ​more than 1.25 million meals have been​​​ prepared, cooked and delivered with ​the help of more than 1​,​200 volunteers through the doors.

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Empty Kitchens will ​now ​continue their​ ​work in the community from a new site in Granton.​ ​The purpose-modified premises at 3-11 West Granton Road include fully kitted out kitchens, foo​d​ preparation areas and packing hall. The new site has been designed by design collective DC Design who have​ ​all volunteered with ​Empty Kitchens Full Hearts over the last year and have designed the building with the needs of volunteers and​ ​service users foremost.

Leith Theatre

​Morrison continues, “It is all credit to Empty Kitchen’s amazing team of volunteers and staff; chefs, packers, drivers and cheery​ ​receptionists included; what they have achieved is incredible.

“It has been a pleasure watching the​ ​organisation operate within our building and now they’re ready to operate out of their own premises, there​ ​is no question that we will miss being part of this important service and extra-ordinary team.”

Dylan Childs, Operations Manager at Empty Kitchens, ​adds​, “We could not have moved from being​ ​a Covid project to a full going concern if not for the space afforded to us by Leith Theatre. It has been​ ​incredible to see how people pulled together at the start of the crisis to become such a brilliant team of​ ​staff, chefs and volunteers.

“The service is still desperately needed in this city. With the removal of the Universal Credit uplift, and rapidly​ ​rising food and fuel costs, more and more people will be struggling to manage. We’re sorry to be leaving​ ​Leith Theatre but very excited to start this new chapter for our organisation.”

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Empty Kitchens Full Hearts​' ​operation relies heavily on volunteer time, donated food and kind donations for running costs. If you​ ​would like to donate or volunteer your time, please clcik here

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