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 2 hour practical cookery sessions over 6 consecutive weeks, where the focus is 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 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 mental wellbeing
  • Healthier versions of fast food favourites

We aim to run sessions in the young people’s shared residential kitchens, or in local youth centres and community kitchens they feel familiar with. Not only does this help the young people feel comfortable and safe, but it means we are using the same level of limited kitchen equipment they would likely have when they get their own home.

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 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”
– Kitchen Kick Start participants
Contact for more information.
*During Exit Interviews by the Brighton and Hove Leaving Care Team