New not-for-profit cafe to support community projects in Milton Keynes

Posted 11th June 2023

Namji Desi Cafe will open seven days a week in the heart of the new city.

Namji’s Desi Cafe – opening today Acorn House, MK Community Foundation House – is a not-for-profit eatery that will be run by Naseem Khan for the community.

For the past 10 years restaurateur Naseem has been serving up food to those in need – giving away hundreds of hot meals to families and individuals in Milton Keynes every week.

Naseem and her charity have enabled me to continue supporting residents,” said Bianca Bendig-Ceesay, town councillor for Fullers Slade. “Her assistance has been vital when I have been working with homeless people.

“Hot food is a luxury when you are living on the street or are placed in temporary accommodation without cooking facilities.

Receiving freshly prepared hot food is such a moral boost for the many who benefit from her help.”

But now the owner of Namji – which has branches in Xscape in CMK and Wolverton – is taking things one step further with the launch of this new cafe in the heart of the city.

Diners will be able to donate a ‘suspended meal’ to provide a homeless person with a hot meal –  an easy way to do something positive in our community.

It is about giving back to Milton Keynes,” said Naseem, “I want a place where every diner can sit down to enjoy their food without question. Having a hot meal is a basic human right – no one, least of all a child, should sleep on an empty stomach,” she added. “I am doing this for my love of Allah – my religion teaches us to be charitable and I fully subscribe to that.”

The cafe will open between 8am and 5pm seven days a week, serving a delicious menu of popular Punjabi street food including samosa chaat, chana chaat, masala chips and curries – vegan and vegetarian options will be available.

I have wanted to realise this dream for a long time and I am so pleased to finally be able to turn it into reality,” Naseem said, “The Desi Cafe will be a place for everyone to call their own and where everyone can feel at home.

I want to give accessibility to more communities, including those who are struggling during this cost of living crisis, which has had a devastating effect on so many.

I want it to be a place for the elderly, for the homeless, for mother and children groups, for breakfast clubs, for friends and families… a place where everyone can enjoy affordable, nutritious food.”

The ‘giving back’ ethos will extend to those working there – Namji Desi Cafe will provide people with work experience to enhance their skills and allow them to gain confidence.

It’s a not-for-profit cafe with  the profits going straight back into supporting the community; to support homelessness projects, to help women with further education and so on.

Times are tough for many people, and I believe those of us who are in more fortunate positions have an obligation to do what we can to help – Namji Desi Cafe is the place where we can all work together to achieve great things,” Naseem promised.

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