Scots cafe opens in a bid to provide children in Glasgow with free meals

A NEW Scottish cafe has opened with the aim of feeding Glasgow’s children with free after-school meals.

The new food venue has opened in the heart of Glasgow’s international financial services district, with every coffee or sandwich purchase contributing to free after-school meals for hungry primary school children.

The Launch Café is located at 99 Bothwell Street and will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, serving a range of hot drinks, snacks, sandwiches, wraps, salads and other refreshments.

The simple act of buying a coffee will provide a hot meal, a bottle of water, and some fruit for a city kid.

Launch Café is the latest venture from Launch Foods founder Craig Johnson, (C) Peter Devlin. Image courtesy of Frame Agency. Photo Peter Devlin

The social enterprise is the latest venture from Craig Johnson, who started Launch Foods in 2018 to divert surplus food from some of Scotland’s biggest food and drink companies to feed children in need of nutritious meals outside of schools. class hours.

The charity has so far provided more than a quarter of a million free meals to children in the city, and the new cafe is expected to increase those numbers in the coming months.

Prior to opening, Launch Foods received £40,000 in financial support from Social Investment Scotland.

This funding helped purchase essential catering equipment such as coffee machines and support the recruitment of a new team.

Launch Foods was also helped by HFD Group and other partners to set up the café and prepare the space to welcome its first customers.

Craig Johnson said: ‘This retail unit was secured just before the pandemic, which was not a lucky moment, but our landlord was nothing but supportive.

“It’s great to finally have the doors open and our first cups of coffee sold.

“It’s a fantastic location in the heart of Glasgow’s business district and I thought it would be a great place to catch the morning rush of commuters, office staff on their lunch breaks and even workmen on the various construction sites nearby.

“We promise to take care of our customers with great coffee, great food and served with a genuine smile.

“I want people to know that every time they buy from Launch Coffee, they are also helping to impact the lives of local people.

“Making coffee a success will allow our free catering service to continue.

Johnson continued: “At the moment we are preparing and serving around 300 meals a day, but with the rising cost of living there will only be more families who will need our support.”

“Many generous people have already stepped up to help prepare the cafe to open and have gone above and beyond to do what they can to support me.

“This kindness goes a long way and I will always be grateful for the help.

“It can be a pretty lonely journey as a social entrepreneur and it’s great to be able to share my ‘why’ with the people I come into contact with – especially our new clients.”

Chris Jamieson, Head of Investments at Social Investment Scotland, said: “Through Launch Foods, Craig has made a big impact in many communities in Glasgow where families are struggling and children are sadly hungry.

“So far, Launch has relied on grants, donations and volunteers, but the new cafe represents a significant opportunity to generate additional revenue and, in turn, have an even greater impact for those who need it most.”

Much of the layout of the café was carried out by craftsmen involved in the construction of nearby 177 Bothwell Street, who offered their skills, time and materials to help bring the unit to life.

Bringing heavy footfall to the area, occupants of what is expected to be Glasgow’s tallest office block include Virgin Money, BNP Paribas, AECOM, CBRE, Transport Scotland and HFD Group, the building’s developers.

Stephen Lewis, Managing Director of HFD Property Group, added: “We have been in contact with Craig and Launch Foods for some time through the HFD Charitable Foundation.

“But, as soon as we realized the new cafe would be opening on the same street as our flagship development, we knew we could offer more in terms of hands-on support.

“We are delighted to see the cafe up and running in time for the new occupants moving into 177 Bothwell Street, including HFD itself, and we will encourage staff to visit as much as possible in support of such a fantastic cause. ”

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