A vital Dundee service offering free meals and support for anyone feeling isolated has relaunched after almost 10 months on hold.
Taught by Muhammad’s (TBM) support café in Douglas dished up free takeout lunches to dozens of people on Monday.
The weekly event was paused in March when the pandemic hit and the organisers have been trying hard to reopen safely since.
It was just one of five previously held across the city’s most deprived areas with the others still on hold for now.
Around 1000 people attended the cafes on average each month.
TBM’s project manager Rizwan Rafik said: “Our clients haven’t been able to get to the cafes for so many months and this is having a significant impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
“These are areas where there is higher unemployment and lower incomes.
“We know how important a service like this can be to people. It has been tough not being able to run them for so long.”
It comes just weeks after one of the Douglas café’s regulars Franc McMurchie passed away.
The extremely vulnerable 26-year-old was found dead in his ground floor flat on Aboyne Avenue in Douglas at the end of September.
Mr Rafik added: “It was very sad to hear about Frank. I think going to the café was one of the few times he would see people.
“When you have people to speak with on a regular basis, it’s easy to take it for granted.
“Not everybody has a social network and Covid-19 has cut off lots of people from the ones they do have.
“Hopefully the café will help people in that situation, even if it is just 10 minutes of conversation it can make such a big difference.”
The café features staff from the NHS Community Keep Well Team who offer heath advice and try to intervene before serious illness occurs. Free financial advice services are also available.
The other cafes, in Stobswell, Fintry, Kirkton, and Charleston, may relaunch as a delivery service if TBM can source funding.
The outreach project, part of the charity Yusuf Youth Initiative, relies on volunteers to deliver all its initiatives, including a foodbank.
Mr Rafik added: “The reaction from the volunteers has been amazing. When I called them to see if they were free, they were all so eager to come back.
“It shows you how much it means to them.”