In May 2014 Kitchen Club was launched at the Boilerhouse community centre in the George Downing housing estate in Hackney. With start-up funding from Lloyds Bank and the School for Social Entrepreneurs, we launched a 3 month pilot to test proof of concept and refine the model, which helped us to secure additional funding from Southern Housing Group.
By March 2015, we had delivered 39 sessions, reaching over 150 parents and children. Feedback surveys suggested the project was making a significant impact but we wanted to develop a robust evidence base to prove the value of the project.
In April 2015 we secured a grant from Hackney Public Health, who were funding innovative projects to improve mental wellbeing. As part of a special ‘funding plus’ arrangement, we worked in partnership with the council to develop a robust evaluation framework in line with public health priorities.
In September of 2016 we established a new partnership with Woodland's Park Community Centre and moved the Hackney project to the Round Chapel to work in conjunction with their community outreach team. We now run two weekly kitchen club sessions.
In 2017 we evaluated the Kitchen Club project, gathering data from 25 beneficiaries who had attended 12 sessions or more. Survey data showed significant improvements related to learning, nutrition, social networks and mental health. These included:
The amount of participants who cooked a meal from scratch everyday increased from 23% to 52%, with all doing so at least 2-3 days per week.
The amount of participants who felt very well connected to parents with children of a similar age increased from 25% to 56%.
While in the first session only 10% of participants said they were able to 'make up my own mind about things', all the time, this increased to 70% by the last session.
Participants 'feeling optimistic about the future' often or all the time increased from 45% to 100%.
The amount of participants who had 'been feeling close to other people' often or all the time increased from 40% to 100%
The evaluation demonstrated that Parent Club was successfully achieving its aims of creating an informal learning environment, forging local social networks for parents and improving the mental well-being of parents.
“The relaxed environment at Kitchen Club helps children and parents to form new friendships and important support networks”