Clients of St. Mungo’s Recovery College in central Bristol have had their first taste of a new initiative designed to train people affected by homelessness in cookery and food service skills.
Streets to Kitchen, a project created by local organic retailer Better Food, aims to raise £10,000 to support Square Food Foundation’s work with the college. Clients were joined by Square Food’s founder, Barny Haughton, to get a feel for what the year-long course will be like when it launches this Autumn.
The participants were guided through the process of making fresh bread rolls and a crowd-
pleasing lentil and vegetable soup, teaching a range of skills new to many including safe preparation of the kitchen, vegetable prep and adjusting flavour. Clients, staff and visitors enjoyed a communal meal in the college’s vibrant garden.
Square Food Foundation have twenty years’ experience of teaching people from all walks of life to cook good food from scratch. This project will be the cookery school’s first course dedicated to those who have experienced the effects of homelessness and aims to build confidence in participants, whilst improving mental wellbeing and opening new doors for the future.
With classes based at the Recovery College, the project also aims to reinvigorate the site’s disused kitchen facilities. By encouraging participants to share their learning with their peers, St. Mungo’s are hoping to establish an on-site café run by and for the college’s clients, as well as for staff and volunteers, and providing further opportunities for clients to develop potentially life-changing skills.
Grace Hicks-Tingle, Apprentice Recovery College Worker, who assisted at the session with St. Mungo’s clients, said:
“It’s been great to see our clients preparing food side by side in a supportive environment. They seemed really energised by the session and left buzzing with ideas for the kitchen’s future development. Most of all, I think taking the opportunity to share a meal together gave them the chance to open up and feel listened to.”
Since launching the campaign in 2017 – through fundraising efforts from staff, customers, suppliers and supporters – Better Food has secured over £7,000 of the £10,000 needed to run the course for one year. Donations can be made in return for a reward at the project’s Fundsurfer page, and throughout the year specially selected products available in-store have raised thousands towards the campaign.
In a final push to raise the remaining funds, staff from Better Food are hosting a Streets to Kitchen Yoga Breakfast on Sunday 24th June. Valentina Coccarelli, produce assistant at Better Food and part-time yogi, and store manager Fiona Mason are arranging the event to be held at Better Food’s Wapping Wharf store. Early risers will be treated to an hour-long yoga session in the store’s café before it opens for business, followed by a free organic breakfast, with all profits going directly to the project.