In the first two weeks of the school summer holidays, St Stephens in Southmead opened its doors for the first time as a Make Lunch Kitchen. Revd Tanya Lord, vicar of St Stephen's, explains how they were able to use it to connect with their community and engage young people:
"The run up to the first day was busy. We had:
- Applied for funding
- Attended training
- Recruited volunteers
- Bought new kitchen equipment
- Boosted our play equipment
- Trained ourselves up in first aid and food safety
- Invited families through our local schools
- Planned menus
- Deep cleaned the kitchen
- Bought food
"And finally…we were ready to open on the first day of the summer holidays!
"We had four children from local families attend our first session (a nice slow start) and 15 at the next! Most of those children came back on our last two days. The children were aged between 5 and 11 and came from a range of local schools. Some were siblings, some came alone. It was fantastic to see new friendships forming.
"We had around 12 volunteers for each session a fantastic adult to child ratio. After creating their own name label, children volunteered ideas about how we could make sure everyone enjoyed themselves and had fun...listening to adults, being kind, inviting others to join in…they were very thoughtful. Then the games began! The children lapped up the attention they received as volunteers played with them: table football, skittles, crafts, cookery, board games, table tennis and colouring. Children could take home all the things they had created during the play session.
"After play time, we all washed hands and sat down for lunch. The tables had been beautifully set by our fantastic kitchen team with jugs of juice, napkins and delicious crudits. We had a lovely five minutes of calming down and munching on carrots, celery, peppers and tomatoes. Main courses ranged from sausage and mash to pizza to pasta bolognese…topped off with pancakes, ice cream, fruit or flapjack. The children (generally) thoroughly enjoyed eating as much as they could! Some even tried new foods for the first time.
"After lunch we gave certificates and prizes for great playing, eating, courtesy and helpfulness. Each child received a certificate and a prize over the four days.
"Parents and carers then collected their children and it was common to hear things like Can I come back next time Mum? After lunch, one child was heard to say: That was so tasty; I cant wait to come back! The parents and carers all appeared to have appreciated the time to take a break, go shopping or spend time with younger siblings."