Project Volunteering: Community Researchers

Job title:                                  Community Researcher (volunteer)

Location:                                 Remote working; some in person events in either Edinburgh or Glasgow (expenses for travel related cost)

Hours of work:                       Flexible

About this role

Our new project looks at researching the ‘British restaurants’ government initiative of the 1940s to develop a Public Dining concept that will support local communities today.

British Restaurants were created to provide a hot, healthy, and cheap meal (9p equivalent to £1.50 today) to those who needed it such as those who had homes destroyed by bombings, ran out of food rations, were desperate for support and a place to socialise and to feel a part of a community. By 1943 there was more than 2,000 restaurants serving 500,000 meals a day. Restaurants were set up by local councils in safe spaces from town halls to local churches, they also featured artwork to make the space engaging and joyful- not just a simple soup kitchen but a proud place for community.

We want individuals from all backgrounds, anywhere in Scotland, with a range of skills and abilities to join us on researching this forgotten history!

We are also interested in learning from international examples of state-subsidized dining experiences as further inspiration for our framework of Public Diners. Our current community researchers have found examples all over the world such as: Milk Bars (Poland), Hawker Centres (Singapore), Langar’s (Sikh Gurdwara), Peoples Commune Kitchens (China) and many more.

This is a mostly at home role, where volunteers can access online collections and archives for anything relating to British Restaurants in Scotland. Volunteers are encouraged, if able, to visit local museums, archives, and libraries for this research also. We will provide support and training for volunteers for accessing these materials.

The role also includes interviewing members of the public who may have visited/ used these restaurants during World War Two and after. We will also be interviewing individuals who also used international examples of state subsidised restaurants. This will involve the actual interviewing but recording and transcribing the session. We will also provide support and training (through a separate group) on this. This means that occasionally a volunteer may need to travel to interviewing locations. Volunteers will be reimbursed for travel and related costs, this will be further explained during onboarding. Volunteers can also be involved with outreach strategies to find interviewees.

All these resources and materials will be used to create a touring exhibition on British Restaurants as evidence and inspiration to how they would work today; Public Diners. Volunteers also have the opportunity to assist in the curation of this exhibition.

Click here for more information on the project.

If you have any questions or wish to know more please contact


Application process

To apply, please send a completed application form to

This is an ongoing project until January 2025.