So what is “The Kitchen” and how does it fit within the charitable aims and work of the Thanet Iceberg Project (TIP)?
The Kitchen is about bringing the heart of the family back in to the community by providing a “home” environment, accessible to all, where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together around the shared experience of food.
Despite the clear links between social eating and social bonding, surveys show that many meals in the UK are eaten alone. With busy lives and hectic work schedules, around a third of weekday evening meals are eaten in isolation. Many people growing up today rarely experience family or communal meals, and without this positive community environment society seems to be moving from togetherness to isolation.
The common term “community kitchen” does not fully express the vision behind The Kitchen, but it is a good starting point. As the tangible expression of the inter-agency, cross community, compassion driven work that TIP has been set up to carry out, The Kitchen will be designed to reflect the natural heart of a home that a kitchen historically is.
A kitchen is so often the symbolic heart of a home because it is where we are fed from: food is a basic necessity, an innate need. From break-up Ben & Jerrys to celebratory wedding banquets, from shouldn’t-really-but-lets-treat-ourselves takeaways to ultimate comfort food, food is intimately connected to feelings. Even if it isn’t something we’ve experienced ourselves directly, we probably all recognise the picture of a cosy kitchen, with a scrubbed kitchen table. Warmth from an Aga, the smell of freshly baked bread, a homemade cake on the table… That idyllic picture that speaks comfort, warmth, safety, family and is a fairly universal picture that changes only slightly depending on culture. For many of TIP‘s clients, that home based feeling of security and warmth will be something currently out of reach.
We intend to make The Kitchen the focal point of the work that we do. More than just a coffee shop, the Kitchen will be designed in look and function to be the welcome point for everyone: all who come to access TIP, regardless of their pathway in or motive towards it, will come initially through the same point of access, the Kitchen. Some of our clients come to us having not eaten for several days and so find it hard to discuss their problems and find solutions on an empty stomach. The Kitchen will allow vulnerable clients to relax and socialise with others over nourishing food, helping them feel more connected.
Committed to working to reduce local food poverty by offering affordable, quality food, The Kitchen will make use of charitable food “surplus” donations from organisations such as FareShare, as well as local food businesses.
Our pricing will be a two tier system – “need it” and “want it”. Those who are willing and able to pay a fair price for their food and drink will know that the profit from their orders will be going back in to the business to enable those less able to pay, to get the same quality and quantity of food at a vastly reduced rate – “paying it forward” if you like.
In addition, as a business based in a seaside town we are also committed to reducing product waste and reducing reliance on plastic. Any single use containers will all be made from recycled material and themselves fully compostable.
- welcomes all in our community in to our “family kitchen” where they can find support and friendship.
- promotes and meets the needs of the local community, by becoming a central point of opportunity, access and information for local community activities.
- is a catalyst for breaking down communication barriers and building strong cross-community connections.
- strives to provide a calm and safe place where people can access the help they need in a friendly and non-clinical setting.
- A place where people of all backgrounds and ages can eat, learn and socialise together.
- A place where friends can meet, families can eat together, and where elderly people can socialise and contribute to teaching younger generations.
- A place where children can come together to learn about the food they eat while having fun.
- A place where people can share skills and gain knowledge about their own health and wellbeing.
- A place where people can volunteer, support and give something back to their local community.
- A place where people can gain valuable work experience and skills to help build their confidence and prospects of finding work.
- A place where people can come and feel a sense of belonging and which promotes the importance of being part of a community.
What We Need Now
We are seeking funding of up to £20,000, half of which is needed quickly in order to:
a) secure the premise (6 months advanced rent)
b) carry out required works
c) renovate the kitchen and equip to the necessary standards to allow the business to register to serve food.
We are also seeking volunteers for the initial cleaning of the property, the decoration and refurbishment, to serve customers once open and then for people to support the vision by using the cafe and being willing to befriend others.