I’m sitting writing this listening to the animated chatter of the English lesson going on beside me. The class is run by the Big Issue for it’s vendors and MILK hosts it every Monday. I’m happy to see it so full because it wasn’t always like this, there was a long time at the beginning when it would just be the teacher and one student.
The class is mostly Roma and at the beginning they were a bit suspicious of the free class but that is easing off now and attendance is good. After class, Tiffany and Bashir will arrive; she is a Phd student who is a MILk regular and he attends the language cafe on a Tuesday night. Tiffany is studying the food refugees eat here compared to home and Bashir is helping her with her research.
We are catering for the university tomorrow and a couple of our volunteers have offered to come down and help as they are infinity better than us at cooking. We’re incredibly lucky with the volunteers we’ve met in the first year, they’ve really shaped the cafe into what it is today.
We host so many events and activities that I don’t honestly know what we did before we opened. Tuesday night sees Geraldine, a local artist, hold women’s only creative workshops from 6-8. The workshops are lovely to be a part of but sometimes I just like to potter in the kitchen and watch the girls work. Last week we had 2 Eritreans, 3 Scots, an Iraqi and a Roma girl who had just popped in to change money from her Big Issue sales and stayed to make felt brooches. It’s nice to watch women interact and so naturally, despite language barriers, when they have something to work on with their hands.
Wednesday night is our Sewciable Suppers; a collaboration between us, Learn to Sew Glasgow and the Real Junkfood Project; it’s a sewing class with a difference and we all sit down and have a meal together after. Every second Friday is MILK Open Mic and it’s nice as it welcomes a slightly different crowd to use the space.
The cafe is on a busy street in one of the most diverse communities in the country; add to that the volunteers and the Roma kids coming and going like it’s the local youth club and it makes for a space that is rarely quiet. Our customers who know and understand our social enterprise embrace and enjoy the activity, offering a helping hand if there’s a child running loose or giving us a knowing nod when we look like it’s all getting too much.
It’s often challenging, it’s never boring and it’s always worth it.
Angela Ireland – Director/Barista
To find out more, head over to their website: http://www.milkcafeglasgow.com/