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First Service is an employability and engagement programme which incorporates kitchen skills, formal qualifications life-coaching and work experience. This gives participants improved access to employment in the hospitality and catering industry and also supports their life-skills and confidence.
We take the food truck or our big tent out to different events and venues around the county and share our experience and food with the public! If you're interested in getting us over to your event, we'd love to hear from you.
The Quays project has seen us work with the residents of the Quays, a hostel in Sittingbourne, running two projects here.
The first is a 'twilight' cookery course for those who are on rehabilitation programmes. The second is a series of cookery courses in the kitchens with younger residents helping them gain valuable life skills and experinence.
As part of the First Service programme, we run key skills/life coaching sessions. This supports participants with their life-skills and confidence. We play a mentoring role throughout the programme often involving participants as project volunteers for other activities..
Probably one of the most exciting parts of any day for any of our participants or the public who engage with us! The moment that the food is ready is a glorious time for all!
Our 14ft multi-coloured mobile kitchen embodies what we do and adds value to all our activities. It gives us wheels and helps us bring great food to where its least expected. It's also a great vehicle for training and adding flavour and impact to any event or venue we attend...READ MORE
Through our awesome Food Truck project, we are able to engage with the general public and many community groups.
We meet people and communities who are ‘harder to reach’ either by geography, mobility or their reluctance to attend formal settings. This can involve commissioned projects where we run outdoor cooking workshops/demonstrations and support community events.
We also increasingly engage in ad hoc street trading in key locations where we bring quality, imaginative and affordable local food to local people at no cost or minimal subsidised rates.
This work helps us promote our project face to face with disengged people and communities and aids recruitment for our structured activities. It equally supports regeneration of disadvantaged areas and improves the disconnect between these areas and local farms and producers.
Our Food truck project is also regularly based at an 80 bed hostel and several of the residents work with us as volunteers helping to prepare and serve food at various events. This supports these individuals in new life opportunities as they look to move beyond living in a care setting.
We run courses for unemployed adults and help them to find a route back to work. Our blend of kitchen based training, innovative career coaching and work experience in the hospitality and catering industry supports many positive outcomes.READ MORE
We support unemployed people from deprived catchment areas via our firstservice employability and engagement programme which incorporates kitchen skills, formal qualifications life-coaching and work experience. This gives participants improved access to employment in the hospitality and catering industry and also supports their life-skills and confidence.
We play a mentoring role throughout the programme often involving participants as project volunteers for other activities. This project sets within its detailed planning a process that builds on what young unemployed adults can already do well and works from those foundations.
Students quickly learn a variety of skills from managing themselves, effective communication, self esteem and increasing employability.
The overarching impact, based upon student feedback, suggests that each individual has a greater sense of ‘purpose and direction’ and is being well supported by the framework that has been placed around them.
Preparing and sharing food touches peoples lives on so many levels and in such positive ways. For people with more acute needs this becomes even more important. Our programmes provide pathways and create opportunities for these individuals be they skills based or social ones.READ MORE
The supported housing project has delivered numerous ‘twilight’ cookery courses with residents of an 80 bed hostel, many of whom come into this supported accommodation from prison and drug/alcohol rehabilitation programmes.
More recently, the project has worked with younger adults in the kitchen at the hostel who come from broken family units. These residents need to equip themselves with essential life-skills.
The project’s food programme is successful in it’s proven ability to engage with these people. The lack of structure, direction and focus in their lives are, all too often, the obstacles to real progress.
The project’s sustained approach can make a significant difference in helping them gain confidence and move on in strides in their lives.
There's no better sight than parents and children exploring tastes together and learning real skills for their homes and their futures. We spend lots of time supporting schools and children's centres who appreciate the enormous all-round benefits a positive food focus can bring to their communities.READ MORE
Through the development of a huge range of thematic units, children and their family members have been able to engage with a highly practical food education programme that sets out to do far more than ‘teach people how to cook’.
For many families, there are complex social, emotional and psychological challenges. The community chef project has shown the effective ways in which it can offer genuine opportunities for those individuals concerned to develop a greater sense of well-being and achievement.
The project recognises that many participants in its programmes are women. It has made considerable efforts to listen carefully to the incidental conversation that appears to surround our practical cookery sessions. The role of ‘husband/partner’ takes up much of this conversation. Mothers talk about the range of support they would appreciate in the home. In addition to supporting father and child cookery sessions at children’s centres, the project works with families at the local prison’s visitor centre where we also work directly with male inmates prior to their return to their family homes.
Equipping men with the basic skills to cook a simple, affordable and nourishing meal supports that individual’s need to re-establish his position in the family and in a way that is an improvement on his role as a father/partner/husband.
The project has and continues to place the notion of ‘social nourishment’ at the heart of all that it sets out to achieve. Every planned unit, session, course and outing sets out to demonstrate the powerful nature of good, honest, simple and, equally, ambitious food.
Each and every adult and child that the project has worked with to date is a significant member of a family. The food they have prepared, cooked, served and shared does one thing consistently well: it brings those people closer together. The project knows that however good food may be, it will always lack flavour if it is eaten alone.
some of our recent locations
We work with food because we love food.
We work with people because we love people.
But its much much more than that...
We'd love to tell you how you can support us.
click here to get in touch!
There are a lot of things we would love to do. We need your help to make it happen!
The Community chef was started by Sheppey Matters. We are a registered charity.
We are so grateful to all the help and support that we have recived from both funders, producers, local farmers and of course you, the public for buying our tasty grub. We couldn’t do it without any of you.
Some of the logos below are just a snippet of the support we have and continue to receive.
Phone (Dom): 07870 229513
Phone (Mike): 07885 918799