Charity aims to feed Bay families while investing in cafes and restaurants

Olivia Palmer, founder of Hungry Minds

Olivia Palmer, founder of Hungry Minds - Credit: Oxyte

An ambitious new food community food project has been launched in Torbay, which aims to feed hungry families while investing money in the local economy. 

A month-long pilot scheme of Hungry Minds, established by local entrepreneur Olivia Palmer, was given the green light in Devon at the end of February following a successful grant application to the Devon Community Foundation. 

Thanks to community fundraising, Hungry Minds are now able to pilot this model in Torbay too.  

Hungry Minds

Hungry Minds - Credit: Hungry Minds

Eligible families will be given vouchers by Play Torbay, a charity encouraging children to play and be active outdoors, from the Easter weekend onwards, which can then be redeemed in local participating restaurants, where they will be given a choice of popular nutritious meals.

The scheme has been a year in the making and has received widespread support, including Devon Community Fund and members of the food aid network.

“Too often, the solution to food poverty has been to present families or individuals with parcels of food, with very little engagement with the recipients,” said Olivia Palmer, founder of Hungry Minds.

“While devising this scheme, I discovered that many restaurants were already providing food to those in need within their communities, without receiving anything in return.

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"This was especially the case in October half-term last year when the Government withdrew free school meals vouchers.

“Hungry Minds is designed to build on the good work already being done by restaurants, while making sure they get paid for it.” 

Participating outlets include Cantina in Goodrington, where owners Kate, Queenie, Barry and Charlie said they were delighted to be asked to support Hungry Minds in its aim to remove the stigma of food aid provision within the local community.

“It's great to be asked to contribute by great local initiatives like Hungry Minds,” said Kate.

“We're so glad Olivia trusted us enough to introduce some more families to us. We aim to look after them as we do all our local families.” 

Olivia said she hopes the pilot scheme will give donors the confidence to support a wider rollout of the scheme. 

“The interest in Hungry Minds extends far beyond Torbay, and I know that with the right food outlets and agencies we can join forces and work towards eradicating food poverty, which is a terrible blight on our society,” she said.