Kitchen Kick Start

Many vulnerable young people moving towards independent living struggle to manage the complexities of adult life, they face serious disadvantages to their peers. When asked*, young care leavers often feel they leave care without practical skills such as cooking and budgeting.

Kitchen Kick Start works with teenagers and young people who are on the cusp of living independently, helping them to feel confident about cooking with healthy and affordable non-processed foods. We run a mixture of one off ‘taster’ sessions and more structured programmes over 4-6 consecutive weeks. Each session lasts for 2 hours, with the main focus on preparing and cooking healthy meals from ingredients that can be bought at the local corner shop, food co-ops, or supermarkets. The group can then enjoy their own freshly made food together.

Participants can help choose the theme and recipes for each session – for example:

  • Stretching your food budget to last all week
  • Quick, easy and cheap meals
  • Cooking to ease cravings
  • Food and energy/crashes
  • Food and mood/mental health
  • Healthier versions of fast food favourites
  • Weekly meal planning
  • Bulk cooking/how to use leftovers

We aim to run sessions in the young people’s shared residential kitchens, or in local youth centres and community kitchens they feel comfortable and familiar with.

In addition specialist advisers are invited to join the sessions to chat to participants about other issues they may be facing e.g. managing priority debt and bills, rent arrears, benefit advice etc.

So far we’ve worked with the Brighton Leaving Care Team, YMCA Downslink, The Foyer and SAHA (The Salvation Army Housing Association), with some great feedback –

“I enjoyed learning how to cook different but easy meals”
“I liked learning how to make things healthier for me and my child”
“It re-ignited me wanting to cook”
“Care leavers deserve as much support as any young person living at home! This cooking course will be a great support for care leavers to develop skills to be able to cope with being independent. I feel that because this support wasn’t there for me, but now I have attended Kitchen Kick Start, I know I will be successful in developing life skills”

– Kitchen Kick Start participants

If you’re from an organisation working with young people who could benefit from our cookery courses, or you’re a young person looking to learn, please email louise@foodmatters.org or call 01273 431 707.
*During Exit Interviews by the Brighton and Hove Leaving Care Team