We’ve got our fingers crossed for Co-operative & Community Finance members Soft Touch Arts, who’ve made the shortlist for Jewson’s Building Better Communities competition! Soft Touch’s sMASHing Healthy Eating community kitchen is shortlisted in the ‘former glories’ category of the competition. If the project wins, it could be awarded between £1,000 and £50,000; enabling the charity to build a new kitchen with disabled access.
“1 in 3 children in Leicester are classed as obese by the time they leave primary school. Over the last 3 years, the charity’s creative approach to running healthy-eating projects in deprived neighbourhoods has given over 600 children and their families the opportunity to experiment with and learn how to cook healthy meals together. They learn how to cook healthy meals on a budget and design healthy recipe cards which are distributed through local supermarkets and community cooking events. Families surveyed report that they now use and enjoy the healthy recipes at home. Some participants have progressed to being healthy-eating champions and have gained work experience with local high-end restaurants to provide catering for the charity’s fundraising and profile-raising events.
In May 2015 the charity opens Leicester’s first youth arts centre at 50 New Walk. However, they need to find the resources to fit out a healthy-eating project kitchen with units and appliances so that they can involve more children, young people and families in healthy eating projects. This is where the Jewson Community Building Fund comes in. £10,000 would enable Soft Touch to build a fantastic kitchen with disabled access which will give thousands of vulnerable people the opportunity to take part in cooking projects and to develop enterprise skills in running on-site pop-up dining events for many years to come.”
Soft Touch Arts is a Leicester-based charity which was established in 1986. It uses arts, media and music activities to inspire and engage young people and help them to develop creative, social and employability skills. This inclusive way of working helps young people who lack opportunities or have challenges in their lives to participate in positive creative activities. Each year the charity engages over 1,000 children and young people in creative projects that help to build confidence and self-belief and offer alternative ways to develop skills and accreditation, which moves them towards further education and employment.