Spike in popularity of Dundee charity’s support cafes

© DC Thomson
The volunteers love being part of the support cafe.

One of Dundee’s first Syrian refugees is helping provide food and support to members of the public.

Demand for a support cafe programme run by charity Taught By Muhammad has rocketed since it began last year.

Visitors to Charleston and Douglas Community Centre are given the opportunity to meet and greet neighbours while enjoying a three course meal.

Among those to give up their time and serve hot food is Firas Elahmad.

Firas, originally from the Syrian city of Hama, was one of the first Syrians to arrive in Dundee.

After arriving in the City of Discovery 18 months ago, Firas decided to volunteer with Dundee-based charity project Taught By Muhammad.

On a weekly basis, Firas joins Taught By Muhammad operations manager Rizwan Rafik and three other volunteers to prepare and serve meals.

Rizwan said: “Firas is a very hard working volunteer. Always smiling. He helps make the food, serve and clean up.

“From time to time he makes some Syrian dishes for the people who come in to try out. He is also a very good cook.”

The cafe has proven to be popular with local people. Children, adults and pensioners regularly attend to socialise and enjoy food.

Douglas resident Amanda Oudney said: “Everyone is really friendly. We like coming here. There’s people of all ages.

“The food’s nice as well. There’s quite a few things on at the centre for people living in Douglas.”

Steven Niven said: “You get to meet people who you don’t usually meet — your neighbours who maybe live in the same close, but who you don’t see.”

Taught By Muhammad, part of the Yusuf Youth Initiative, hold a weekly support cafe in Douglas Community Centre every Monday and within Charleston Community Centre every Tuesday.

For more on the charitable project visit www.facebook.com/TaughtByMuhammad/?fref=ts