Hope for kiosk as volunteer plan unveiled - but South Glos councillors reject funding proposal

March 02 2020
Hope for kiosk as volunteer plan unveiled - but South Glos councillors reject funding proposal

Rising costs have forced the kiosk to close temporarily while the management team explore options to keep it running.

A new model with community volunteers and an increased drive to secure funding could see the Pod in the Park food kiosk reopen in time for the Spring and Summer.
As reported last month, rising costs have forced the kiosk to close temporarily while the management team explore options to keep it running.
The kiosk, which was taken over last year by the  Filton-based FACE youth and community charity was run as a social enterprise to employ adults with learning difficulties along with two part-time supervisors.
Now FACE director Debbie Teml and the charity's trustees are seeking new ways of working to make the project sustainable for the long-term futures.
She said: "We hope to get a team of volunteers from then community and possibly concentrate on weekends.
"We are also working with a fundraiser to help us bring in revenue because we really think there is a good model here for the kiosk."
Although the kiosk proved popular and sales were good, the venture had not managed to secure enough fundraising cash to make it sustainable, with the need for extra staffing due to workers in the Pod having disabilities.
As Filtonvoice went to print, the trustees of FACE were reviewing the operation and holding a community open evening.
The kiosk is owned by Filton Town Council who had offered a rent free arrangement for the first few months.
Meanwhile Filton councillors have clashed over the kiosk.
At South Glos Council, a proposal by Labour to provide £40,000 funding for the venture was rejected.
Filton Labour councillor Adam Monk said: "The Labour Group proposed to provide funding to cover the cost of Teaching Staff for Pod in the Park. The staff who, as many of you know, have learning difficulties and whilst working in the cafe where studying towards NVQ’s in Food Hygiene and Meal Preparation and Cooking. I am sorry to say that the Conservative group voted against this."
However fellow Filton councillor Chris Wood (Conservative) said the proposal had been put forward with too little warning to allow councillors to consider it properly.
He said: “As a local resident, I totally understand and support the aims of the Pod in the Park and was the first to support Filton Town Council allowing FACE to use the Pod rent free. I also have every sympathy for the financial situation the Pod finds itself in.
“However, the string of budget amendments put forward by Cllr Monk’s Labour Group were received only 15 minutes before the meeting began with no prior warning that they had looked to alter what was a balanced budget. Had their intention to see this funding come to fruition been genuine, rather than an attempt to score political points within the local community, I would have hoped they could have shared this sufficiently in advance so that a compromise could have been met.”
Ms Teml said: "I want to say how disappointed we are to hear this.
"This was an opportunity that local Labour councillors, off their own steam, not requested by us, but obviously supported with information from us, led by Adam were trying to do to help the Pod get off the ground again in a more sustainable way. I can’t thank them enough for trying to help."
The Labour proposals, which included the Pod in the Park funding, would also have seen money going to domestic abuse advisors, licensing for community events, funding for residents' groups and improvements to The Parade in Patchway.
Pat Rooney, Leader of the Labour Group said: "As part of this year’s budget setting process, the Labour group proposed funding for a number of projects from reserves, and although we were disappointed that most of our budget amendments were not carried, we are pleased that the council voted to fund our proposed specialist Domestic Abuse Advisor, if the allocated VE Day funding is not spent.”
The kiosk has had a troubled few years with FACE being the third operation in recent times. 
The Hatch, run by Gavin Horswell, ceased trading due to rent costs and Elm Eats closed just months after caterer Aaron Phillips began trading.
Clarification: In the last issue of Filtonvoice, we gave the impression the kiosk was closing. Instead, although it has closed temporarily, we should have made it clear there were plans for it to reopen. We apologise for any confusion.