Mobile soup kitchen which has fed thousands in Bradford district set to expand to other cities

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Serving up at the In Touch mobile soup kitchen Serving up at the In Touch mobile soup kitchen

A mobile soup kitchen which has fed thousands of homeless and needy people across Bradford since it started on New Year’s Eve last year will now expand into three other cities.

The InTouch Foundation, a non-profit organisation run by community volunteers in the district, will open new sites in London, Manchester and Liverpool in January and February after a successful first year.

Bradford-born Osman Gondal, founder and board member, started the weekly soup kitchen outside Bradford’s City Hall on Monday, December 31 last year, and since then the project has grown to cover Shipley and Keighley.

He said: “It’s been an absolutely brilliant first year and the response we’ve received has been so positive.

“We’ve moved into Keighley and Shipley and we’re now looking to open three new sites in London, Manchester and Liverpool, working with charities in their areas.

“When we started this I knew there was a problem in the city, but I didn’t realise how much of a problem there was with families living on the poverty line and the homeless. I was taken aback in for the first couple of months. It’s been great to highlight the problem and make a difference.”

Mr Gondal said an average of ten people a week have been offering to help the charity, which supports people whatever the weather or the day - running on New Year’s Eve last year and Christmas Day this year.

To celebrate a year since starting the Bradford project, volunteers will be bringing their own home-cooked food to serve to those in need on Monday from 7pm.

“What we do is a very basic thing – we offer hot meals and the opportunity for people to talk.

“We’ve been very lucky to have great media coverage, which has helped raise our profile, and we don’t hide ourselves away. We run in very central locations, which has helped word to spread.

“We want to highlight the plight of the homeless and it seems to be going very well.

“More and more people are coming down and we are finding more people want to volunteer.

“Usually we serve food donated by takeaways, restaurants or catering businesses, but on Monday our volunteers will be bringing in food.

“It has been a great year and hopefully 2014 will be even better.”

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