Recovery Focus Community Services Week – hearing from Evolve

We are proud to be part of Recovery Focus – a group of charities providing specialist support services to individuals and families living with the effects of mental ill health, drug and alcohol use, gambling and domestic abuse. This week all our partner charities are highlighting the work and impact of all the Community Services across the group.  

At Aquarius we have our incredible social enterprise, Evolve Café. In normal circumstances Evolve supports young people by offering training and job opportunities at our café, all whilst serving coffee to the locals. Due to lockdown restrictions Evolve Café had to temporarily close, so we wanted to find out what Evolve have been up to over this past year. 

We heard from Taylor, our Evolve Social Enterprise Lead, about what the pandemic meant for Evolve and how they still managed to continue supporting their local community by thinking outside the box. 

Due to the pandemic, Evolve had to temporarily close its doors to the public. We were aware that we had this amazing space and 5* hygiene kitchen not being used so we applied for funding from Forward Carers to produce healthy meal kits for young people across Birmingham who have caring responsibilities. Teaming up with Aquarius Cares, we were able to identify families in need, gather their dietary needs and food preferences to produce fortnightly meal kits that, with the help of our amazing volunteers, get delivered to their doorstep. 

This project was a reaction to the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on vulnerable families across Birmingham. We believe that the link between hassle-free, fresh, and healthy food and physical and mental health is vast. The meal kits promote positive family dinner times, eliminate stress and are a bit of fun. Each kit comes with a step-by-step instruction card and link to our YouTube channel with online tutorials.  

As a social enterprise and coffee shop that relied so heavily on customers and event bookings, Covid-19 has forced us to think outside the box. I’m so proud of the Evolve team who have been able to adapt in the current climate but still use the space to support the wider community. Even in the pandemic we haven’t drifted from our core mission and principles.  

As we move out of lockdown, I hope that we remember not to pigeon hole ourselves or our services and remain confident in our ability to deliver projects outside of our comfort zone. The pandemic has further highlighted the need for community projects like the Evolve/Aquarius Cares meal kits and I hope that we can continue to support those that need it most. 

Over the last 8 months Evolve have supported 29 young people and delivered 463 meal kits – including a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings!  

Congratulations to Evolve in supporting young people and families across Birmingham with meal kits and for adapting to the restrictions of lockdown in order to still support those that need itWe are looking forward to what is to come for Evolve Café and for their doors to opening again soon once lockdown restrictions begin to ease. 

To find out more about Evolve Café click here or visit their website here. Also, check out their YouTube Channel here.

To continue following along with the Recovery Focus Community Services week, follow Recovery Focus on Twitter and check the hashtag #OurCommunityServices. We look forward to hearing from the rest of the partner organisations this week!