"Kitchen Social is a Mayor's Fund for London Initiative that provides young people in London with a place to socialise and enjoy a healthy meal. As part of their strategic partnership with the Mayor's Fund for London, the Berkeley Foundation funds 18 Kitchen Social hubs across the capital.
Sally Dickinson, Marcus Blake, and I visited the Coin Street Kitchen Social Hub, just a stone's throw from the dynamic Southbank and Berkeley's One Blackfriars development. The visit allowed us to further explore the fantastic services available at this important community facility.
Clara Widdison from the GLA gave us a warm welcome at the centre and shed some light on the brilliant work being carried out across the Kitchen Social network. Clara elaborated on the assortment of community spaces being used to host the hubs, and highlighted that many of the Kitchen Social hubs were built on existing services offered by local community groups.
Not only do the hubs bring young people together during the school holidays, but they also learn important cooking skills. It was fantastic to see the children eagerly preparing a healthy meal - and then enthusiastically eating it afterwards!
Dan, a member of staff at the Coin Street hub, gave us a tour and an overview of the activities on offer. As well as sporting activities, the hub utilises local resources and offers a variety of outings to places like the London Eye, the theatre, and even beach clean ups by the Thames.
The following day, Sally Healy, Brian McKenzie and I visited the Spitalfields City Farm hub. A little haven within the city, the farm is home to an assortment of rare livestock breeds and freshly grown vegetables. Michelle, our guide, explained that many of the ingredients used at the hub are handpicked straight from the farm's community garden.
Following our tour, we caught the tail-end of a pizza making class, with parents and young children enjoying the homemade pizza they had prepared together!
Maryan Nuur from the GLA met us at the hub, and emphasised its importance as a place for both young people and their parents to meet and socialise whilst learning about healthy food. An additional benefit of this hub is that it exposes young people from the city to the rearing of livestock and the farming of fresh produce.
At both of the hubs the mixture of exciting activities and opportunities to make - and of course eat - food certainly proved to be a winning combination.
Many thanks to the hubs for hosting us, and to Clara and Maryan for taking the time to expand on what the Kitchen Social initiative really means."
Land and Development Graduate
Berkeley St Edward