Bringing our sessions to more kids, in more kitchens

Our Herefordshire Hub Coordinator, Kate, talks about her recent work to expand our community and meet families’ needs, making sure people can enjoy our sessions no matter what!

One of our main aims at Kids Kitchen is to build communities. That has never been more important than it is right now, but also it has never been harder to do! In the current pandemic we have had to stop our face to face sessions, as have all community sessions and activities around the country. And so we moved online and are building a community of families cooking along with us every week. But in order to keep doing this we need to know we are reaching those families who need us the most. Kids Kitchen has always been about so much more than just teaching kids how to cook. The community aspect is central to what we do. We also want to educate families in healthy eating choices and show them that getting kids involved with healthy eating from an early age can be fun, cheap, easy and enjoyable!

Expanding our community

We already have a good network of families who normally attend our face to face sessions, but we are always looking to reach new families. Changing our approach to online delivery, whilst challenging in many ways, has potentially opened up our sessions to those who may have never attended before. Whether that is due to a lack of time or accessibility issues, the online sessions can overcome a lot of these potential barriers. It’s important we are still reaching the families in our local vicinity, but we want to make these online sessions accessible for as many families as possible. In part, we can cover this by ensuring we are flexible in our ingredients and making sure people know that you can join in with whatever you have to hand, and it’s important to us that the sessions were free for anyone to attend. However, none of this means anything unless we know we are reaching these families with our advertising.

Meeting families’ needs

As Kids Kitchen is already well established in our Hub areas of Herefordshire, SE London and East London, the Hub Coordinators already have some contacts that can help with this outreach work. Over the past few weeks we have contacted local Children’s Centres, Community Centres, parenting groups, Housing Associations, Baby Banks and Food Banks to help get the word out about our sessions and encourage families to join us.

Keen to build on our successful face to face sessions at Leominster Childrens Centre, one of our Herefordshire Hub venues, we approached Leominster Food Bank about a collaboration project. Following a discussion about their food donations, we set a recipe for one of our sessions that would allow Leominster Food Bank to create specific ‘Kids Kitchen Session Ingredients Bags’. Eligible families could sign up through the food bank and receive their ingredients for the session free of charge, meaning that they were able to take part in the session and cook the meal together without having to worry about obtaining the correct ingredients. This has proved a success and we hope to repeat this session and use this collaboration to help us reach more families who may not have otherwise attended our sessions. We are now working on rolling this model out to other areas too if possible.

Help us keep cooking!

Update: our Crowdfunder is finished and we raised just under £2,500! Thankyou all so so much for your support. If you missed the cut off and would like to support our work, you can do so via the link below! ????????????

Words by Kate Allman