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17 Oct 2017

Havering Adult College routinely provides range of high quality training and education for adults and families in and around Havering. The team responsible for Family Learning saw an opportunity to engage with Kitchen Social to provide valuable workshops and clubs outside of term time, addressing the issues of holiday hunger in the area whilst also giving children and families an outlet to engage with others.

The workshops provided a fun, educational space where children engaged in different activities – from cooking and eating healthy, nutritious meals to arts and crafts and outdoor activities. Children and families engaged with other people to make new friends, and also gave parents the opportunity to develop their skills and confidence in order to get ahead in the world.

“I don’t eat peppers. They’re horrible! I’ve never eaten any peppers. I tried a green pepper at the club and it was ok so now I eat green peppers only” Kaci

  “The groups have been good for the kids over the holidays. We can’t cook in our flats much so when the kids can come down, have something hot and mix with the other kids, it makes them happier. They love bringing stuff back when it’s finished – like the snacks and the arts and crafts” Leanne

 “My son has autism and it was nice to have someone at the workshops who has autism themselves. She gave me lots of information about things I can do with him and places I can go to for advice and support” Kim

Kitchen Social is being used as an educational tool, with parents learning about cooking meals on a budget, understanding the nutritional benefits of certain foods, developing their relationship with their children and learning new skills, games and craft ideas to use with their children at home at other times.

Havering Adult College was responsible for managing six hubs across Havering. All hubs combined distributed meals to 213 children in total. 94 children in total came back each week. Meals were freshly prepared each session and included recipes such as sausage and bean casserole, vegetable burritos, vegetable stir-fry and curry. The workshops each involved a range of arts and crafts activities that children were involved in, and in some cases, parents helped too, especially for activities like kite making.

Parents have commented since attending these workshops that their children have been more interested in doing activities at home with their siblings, wanting to spend time with other children and friends, and in one case that a parent gave feedback, there’s an expectation that mealtimes are spent together, which is one of the criteria of the workshops offered through Havering – all children and families ate together.

The impact of Kitchen Social in the Havering context has been positive and parents have expressed interest in being involved in future workshops. The project is evolving to include a Kitchen Social Volunteer Programme to give parents and other volunteers the extra skills to work in the community, boost their confidence and empower them to progress to other forms of employment.

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