Official launch for Kitchen Social Margate distribution hub and food academy

Founder Lucy Gray and Mayor Cllr Mick Tomlinson

Thanet based Kitchen Social Group has officially opened a distribution hub and food academy in Cliftonville.

A socially distanced reception took place on Monday (June 21) at the Rendezvous restaurant with Margate mayor and mayoress Mick and Shirley Tomlinson in attendance. Councillors Heather Keen and Alan Currie were also present.

Before cutting the ribbon to declare the hub open, Cllr Tomlinson said: “I am proud to be associated with this professional project.  It is a thoughtful and community focused programme working alongside its community teaching food education, life skills and home cooking – and making it fun.”

Kitchen Social was set up in Broadstairs just before last year’s covid lockdown. It has expanded rapidly, addressing isolation and boosting mental and physical health through weekly deliveries of affordable, fresh, nutritious ingredients and a recipe card known as “The Dine-In Recipe Box”.  Members connect through the Facebook Page @KitchenSocial&CookeryClub.

Phase two was securing a base for The Food Academy and a distribution hub under the banner of Kitchen Social Margate.

The Cliftonville Hub delivers weekly greens and groceries to families living on low incomes across Thanet, over a period of six months. The aim is to make families confident and self-sufficient by teaching life skills, budgeting and cookery lessons so they can make affordable healthy  meals, at home.

The hub has six dedicated volunteers collecting public donations from Sainsburys three times a week; collecting food surplus from The Co-op; shopping for personal hygiene items and undertaking the outreach work with families across Thanet.

Lesley Wood, a volunteer from Ramsgate, said “I could not have imagined myself volunteering on an educational project but I love coming to work. I know I make a difference teaching food education and I have fun too.”

An aftercare programme is being developed to ensure the improvements and positive changes in home cooking and life skills are maintained.

Kitchen Social’s Food Academy will be working alongside Broadstairs College to offer taster sessions for students that access the programme.

Kitchen Social is also finalising cookery demonstrations at Mecca Bingo – a little home cooking, a little street food and some fine dining – proposed to start in September.

Founder Lucy Gray said: “Its been a busy but tremendously exciting 12 months. Community support has been unfailing. The Food Academy has been an amazing adventure into food and an education for me also.”

Lucy says Kitchen Social will continue to provide an innovative, long term and sustainable solution to alleviating social and economic hardship and boost mental and physical health through good quality ingredients and home cooking.

Self-referrals and third party referrals should be made through Facebook @kitchensocialmargatefoodacademy.

Also find details online at