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Bread and Roses: serving the community

Written by Rachael Norris, 12th February 2021

Whilst the Mansion House, Ice Cream Parlour and Reader Café remain closed to protect the safety and wellbeing of our staff and customers, we’ve been putting our kitchens to good use to help vulnerable people in our community.

Inspired by the words of the early female unionists of the US, who recognised that life was not only about basic breadline necessities but also about the ineffable beauty of the world too - ‘give us bread, but give us roses’ – The Reader has adapted its mission through the Covid crisis. As a result, we’ve been creating homemade meals - the bread -  and organising Shared Reading and wellbeing resources for those feeling isolated - the roses.

Launched in April last year, the project received funding from the Liverpool City Region Cares COVID-19 Community Support Fund, which allowed us to start producing large quantities of homemade soups to be delivered out into the community.

Mansion House Scouse and An Excerpt from 'Song of Hope' by Thomas Hardy

From April to July, we made 4684 portions of vegan soup which were distributed with the help of our partners at Crisis Merseyside, The Whitechapel Centre, L6 Community Association and Granby and Toxteth Trust, Woolton Food Bank, West Everton Community Centre, Torus Housing, South Liverpool Foodbank and Local Solutions Liverpool.

In response to the ongoing need for support in Liverpool, we relaunched the project in December and over the past two months, we’ve cooked up over 1000 portions of Mansion House Lamb Scouse and vegan soup, bringing the total number of meals provided to over 5000.

Each portion of soup or scouse has gone out into the world with information about our coronavirus support line, online Shared Reading services, and with a piece of literature with a message of unity, hope, and love.

Without the funding from LCR Cares COVID-19 Community Support Fund, this project wouldn’t have been possible. We’d also like to send a massive thank you to all our partners and supporters who have helped make Bread and Roses a success.

While we plan for the safe reopening of our Calderstones site and look forward to welcoming people back. keep an eye on The Reader at Home page for Shared Reading activities and readings for company, comfort and connection.

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