What is a community kitchen?
A community kitchen is a space where people can come together to cook and eat. They’ve existed in one form or another for many years; soup kitchens, foodbanks, public canteens and social eating projects are just a few of the different types of community kitchens.
A community kitchen can be what you and your community want it to be. However, Leicestershire County Council is offering funding to help establish community kitchens across the county that have household food waste prevention at their heart. To find out more about household food waste, click here.
What is a Leicestershire community kitchen?
Leicestershire’s community kitchens started in 2017 when Sainsbury’s provided funding to Leicestershire County Council to trial the opening of three kitchens in Hinckley & Bosworth. The funding was part of their WasteLessSaveMore Project, which aimed to help people reduce household food waste.
The project trained a small team of volunteers to run free food waste prevention themed cooking classes from the kitchens of community houses (small community centres in residential areas) . Where possible the classes used surplus food that would otherwise have gone to waste, and they focused on helping local residents reduce food waste in their homes.
The trial proved to be a great success, with attendees typically managing to reduce the amount of food they wasted by about a third (by weight) and their food shopping bills by 10% or more. Volunteers and class attendees also reported a range of personal benefits such as a growth in skills and confidence, making friends and a reduction in feelings of social isolation. Some also said they saw improvements in their diet, fitness levels and general wellbeing.
Since 2017, the volunteers at our trial community kitchens have gone from strength to strength delivering several cooking classes per week at all three original venues. They have also recruited and trained new volunteers to support the project, as well as opening another four community kitchens in neighbouring towns and villages. There are now seven Leicestershire community kitchens in total.
Leicestershire County Council has made a grant fund available to help establish more community kitchens in Leicestershire, and to provide support to existing community kitchens in the County looking to help tackle food waste issues.
What funding is available?
Leicestershire County Council has put together a support package to help Leicestershire communities establish community kitchens.
To apply for the funding your community kitchen has to meet these criteria:
- It has to have food waste prevention at its heart
- It must be led by volunteers
- It has to serve Leicestershire residents
- An appropriate and responsible organisation must lead on the application process; manage the grant payments, and produce impact reports as required. Registered charities, Parish Councils and constituted community groups are examples of those eligible to apply.
To see what details are required, download an application form.
Set up support – Set-up funding is intended to cover the cost of training a group of volunteers to get a community kitchen project up and running. Successful applicants can access a combination of funding, goods and services (up to a value of up to £6,238) which is intended to support the initial establishment of a new Leicestershire community kitchen. Services include access to a qualified tutor who will train a group of community kitchen volunteers to deliver food waste prevention themed cooking classes to others. Volunteer training typically takes eight weeks in total. Trainee volunteers will complete an accredited Level 2 Food Hygiene course during that time. Financial support is available for the provision of food and resources for the duration of the training course.
Maintenance funding – Up to £2,000 funding is available to support the ongoing activities of the community kitchen volunteers following completion of their training. The maintenance grant is intended to cover running costs for a community kitchen after volunteers have completed their training. It is intended to give the kitchen and volunteers a short period of time in which to become established whilst additional work is undertaken to make the kitchen self sustaining.
Innovation fund – Once established, community kitchen volunteers may want to push themselves to try something new. Examples have included travelling to run cooking classes for new communities, providing catering services for community events, and hosting ‘Feed the 5000‘ type events. An innovation grant fund of up to £2,000 is available to established community kitchens in Leicestershire, and is intended to allow them to try novel activities, events, projects or undertakings that meet the aim of reducing household food waste in Leicestershire which they would otherwise be unable to do.
We require successful grant applicants to keep us informed about their progress by, for example, letting us know when and where cooking classes are being delivered, how many people are attending, and how effective those classes have been in helping those who attend to reduce their household food waste. Support is available to prospective applicants in deciding how to report on the progress of their community kitchen project.
To find out more about the funding please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Support is available to organisations wishing to develop a community kitchen project and submit a funding application.
Applications can be submitted at any time, but applicants should be aware that funding is limited and typically no more than two new community kitchen projects receive funding each financial year.