This week Our Kitchen on the Isle of Thanet – responsible for free and cheap food schemes across the isle – moves into a shop in Margate High Street.
In a collaboration with Thanet council, Our Kitchen has taken over the premises at 51 High Street and will host a food club shop, will offer meal kits, chances to learn new recipes, useful information sessions on nutrition and opportunities to taste new products.
Our Kitchen is a community interest company headed up by Ramsgate resident Sharon Goodyer and run with input from trustees, staff and volunteers.
It has hosted Summer Kitchen sessions since 2018 – serving some 1,642 meals to families in that first year – based at Drapers Mills primary and Dame Janet primary.
During the pandemic the Kitchen adapted to become one of the suppliers of food to people in need across Thanet.
Recently a food club ‘social supermarket’ – with quality, health food at low prices – was trialled at Drapers Mills primary.
Now the Kitchen has signed a lease with Thanet council support for the new base, next door to KFC and the new Silvers event space, in the High Street.
Sharon said: “We must be as Covid safe as we know how to be so we will have to limit numbers, insist on hand sanitising and masks. We will clean surfaces and handles regularly.
“Our group sessions will be small and socially distanced. We will also have a one way system through the shop.
“But this is a very good start. We have never had a ‘ home’ before. Our pop up activities have been well received and we have registered nearly 45 families during the time Our Shop has been open this summer at Drapers Mills school.
“The food club is trying to make things better for those who are trying to eat better and more healthily but just do not have the money to do so. This situation is just silly. The whole country would be better off in the long run if instead of subsidising those who can afford to eat out they helped all those of us trying to cook better for our families day in and day out.
“We are buying as much fresh fruit and veg as we can and we also have lots of fruit juice, tinned fruit, Yorkshire teabags, some dark chocolate with fruit and nuts in, our old favourite: baked beans, lots of tinned butter beans and lentils and some good quality sausages as well as the staples like rice, spaghetti and pasta. We have yogurts and spreadable butter too.
“We are starting to develop a range of good quality cakes like carrot cake and meal kits to give everyone ideas on how to make the best use of simple affordable ingredients.”
Work is underway to get the shop ready for opening on Monday (August 31). The shop will be open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am to 3pm.