Social mobility charity, Mayor’s Fund for London is pleased to announce a new partnership with Chartwells, specialist provider of catering to the education sector, to support the Fund’s Kitchen Social programme.
Kitchen Social is a response to a wider national campaign tackling food insecurity in the school holidays, and the initiative gives young Londoners, on free school meals and from low-income families, a safe place t-o go where they can socialise and get a free healthy meal. The project supports children’s general mental and physical well-being, as well as teaching them life-skills. An additional package of training modules has also been developed for those delivering holiday provision to change long-term behaviour and build a sustainable infrastructure.
It is around this training support package that the new venture with Chartwells is based. Kicking off the partnership during the Spring half-term holiday last week, Chartwells’ team of experts volunteered culinary expertise and services in interactive cooking workshops at local Kitchen Social hubs: Lady Allen Adventure Playground, Wandsworth; Leaders in the Community, Tower Hamlets; Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre, Brent; Will Perrin Court Hostel, Rainham; Bollo Youth Centre, Ealing and St Luke’s Church, Hackney.
As a measure of their on-going commitment to become part of the solution in resolving holiday hunger, Chartwells will also support hubs throughout the year by delivering training for cooks and volunteers. This will incorporate nutrition, menu planning and shopping, recipe demonstrations, school food standards, kitchen management, budgeting and good practice. In addition, they will provide educational support on nutrition for young people attending hubs which will include hands on cookery sessions, healthy eating and take-away resources for families.
Matthew Patten, Chief Executive, Mayor’s Fund for London, said: “We are delighted that Kitchen Social is being supported by Chartwells. Our aligned missions of helping young people to lead long, healthy lives is a great foundation for the partnership and will help us to achieve our 2020 vision of delivering a sustainable holiday provision solution across all 33 London Boroughs.”
Commenting on the new partnership, Richard Taylor, Managing Director, Chartwells said: “We’re committed to going beyond what’s on the plate, to provide healthy and nutritious meals, but also all-round health and well-being initiatives for children. That’s why we’ve chosen to support this charity and help with the important work they are doing, to feed children during school holidays and also providing extra support and education during that time too.
“It’s been a successful week of activity during the February half-term and now we’re looking ahead to the work that needs doing to help children during the Easter break too.”
Kitchen Social is a three year, £2million campaign, that was launched in January 2017. It offers funding and training to local organisations to enable them to tackle holiday hunger and isolation, which affects around half a million young Londoners every school holiday (Sustain – Beyond the Food Bank Nov 2016).
Poor nutrition negatively impacts on a child’s physical and mental well-being, often leading to social isolation and reducing their long term educational attainment and employment prospects.
To date, Kitchen Social has engaged 95 hubs across 23 boroughs – 46 are delivering the programme and a further 32 have been trained and are preparing for delivery. The initiative has helped to provide 10,800 meals to 1,728 children and young people. Youth clubs, schools, churches, adventure playgrounds and community centres across London are amongst those providing free meals and activities for the capital’s hungry school children.
Kitchen Social is on track to deliver the programme across all 33 London Boroughs by 2020.