Cook for Good was founded in 2019, by Robinne Collie and Karen Mattison. We shared a love of cooking, and a dream of building a community kitchen that would create meaningful links between local businesses and local people, through food-related experiences.
We began by running corporate teambuilding events in which colleagues came together to cook large-scale meals for homeless and vulnerable people. It was a new model which combined team development and corporate volunteering into one event.
We then began exploring ways to widen our impact and build cooking skills and connections within and across communities. We started talking to Peabody Housing about turning a disused cafe at the heart of their Kings Cross estate into a community kitchen and surplus food pantry.
As our plans started becoming more concrete, we asked the Kings Cross community what they would want from a new space. We explored a range of ideas with different groups which helped us make sure that what we were planning would match our residents’ needs.
As plans progressed with Peabody, we got in touch with businesses who were based nearby, or shared our values, and invited them to come on board. Facebook, Argent and Ninja all agreed to support the kitchen build and fit out, and we also received pro bono advice from Axis Engineering, TP Bennett, JLL and QA Design.
We also asked organisations in the food and community spaces for advice and support. As a result, we have developed partnerships with a number of groups including The Felix Project (who run FareShare in London), The Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, and Help on your Doorstep.
We first broke ground for the kitchen build in the autumn of 2021. In the meantime, we continued to run our corporate teambuilding events, both virtually via Zoom, and in-person on external sites. These events help fund everything we do, and are a fantastic way for companies who share our social goals to get involved.
The Pantry opened in September 2021, and our community kitchen was completed in July 2022. It's home to a programme of cooking courses and community meals, as well as purposeful teambuilding events for corporate groups.
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