From tomorrow, people will be able to order nutritious, hot meals and fresh pastries from popular East Oxford café Flo’s – The Place in the Park – in Florence Park.

The new service, which will run four days a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 12pm-4pm, is one of the ways the community initiative is supporting the community through this tough time.

The menu will change weekly, but example dishes are: butternut squash and savoy cabbage soup with bread; eggless shakshuka with feta, peas & rice; beef lasagne with green salad; and healthy barley and fennel salad.

Flo’s operations manager Helen Mets-Tooma says: “If you’re working from home, trying to home-school your children, fed up of cooking or just in need of something tasty to eat, we’re here to help.” 

Helen Mets-Tooma

As well as Flo’s Café, social enterprise Flo’s – The Place in the Park – off Rymers Lane, is also home to a nature nursery, events space, refill shop and midwifery services.

Plans for building work at Flo’s Café were put on hold following the global pandemic but it’s hoped the renovations will go ahead once it is safe to do so soon. The café, which until recently had been run by local caterers Fresh Connections, was to undergo a makeover with the management to be taken in-house.

When the renovations are complete, new features at Flo’s Café – which is in the heart of leafy Florence Park next to the children’s playground – will include a much bigger terrace with sunshade sail over the kids’ area, and a spacious buggy park.

Indoors, there will be a different seating layout, partial table service and a menu focusing on fresh, ethical and local ingredients.

“Flo’s café welcomes people from all walks of life and all ages to meet and enjoy good food,” says Helen. “Some features, like the free-to-use community space for children, will remain, while others will get a makeover.

“The new layout will have more smaller tables as well as a couple of larger “family” tables. We hope the buggy store will be an improvement for both parents and customers, and will create more space and light indoors.”

Flo’s really wants the community to be part of the café – and they are inviting foodies to donate their favourite cookbooks and recommend a recipe. The best ones will be added to the café menu, with a name-check, whilst the cookbooks will become part of a library.

How it works:

• Place your order by phone between 9.30am and 11:30am by ringing 07922 148496 . 

• When ordering you will be given a choice of collection times. Payment will be over the phone or online via the website

• Collect your order between 12pm-4pm from Flo’s at your allocated time.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Flo’s is currently only open for key worker staff (childcare and midwives). 

The Refill Shop in Flo’s – The Place in the Park – has also added an extra day and changed its opening times to meet demand. The shop, which recently doubled its product list, is now open three days a week: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 12.30-6pm.

Flo’s – The Place in the Park is a community-owned and run project, which opened in September 2018. It provides a welcoming hub for families and friends from all backgrounds to meet, work, play, learn and eat. It houses a community space, café, nursery, rooms to hire and the Refill Shop. 

Since it opened, Flo’s has been at the heart of the local community – offering mutual support and a sense of place, as well as providing workshops that explore issues including mental health, parenting, climate change and self care.

Flo’s Nature Nursery has accepted over 60 children since it opened, and has spaces for government-funded 2-4 year olds. Flo’s is also home to the Isis Midwives who help and support around 50 mothers a week. The initiative also hosts many diverse community groups, runs a range of free and paid courses and has held over 28 events for all ages.