One of my old head chefs used to say “fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Those words have stuck with me since I started out in my career and is something I try and stick too with Blend Kitchen when ever possible. Now that we’ve built the new Blend Kitchen site, I feel it is important to outline my plans for Blend Kitchen as we seek to move forward from the pandemic and open Blend Kitchen.
Training and employment support – Blend Kitchen has always been about creating opportunities for people to build up their skills and confidence so they can get a paid job. We’ve seen unemployment go up dramatically this last year and we’re committed to doing something about it! We’ve now started our training programme with Sheffield Wednesday Community Programme, creating an opportunity for 4 incredible young people and thanks to a number of other exciting partnerships we’ll be in a position to provide training and employment support to over 100 people in the next year. You can help us with this as well. We’re always looking for employers who are prepared to provide a work placement, offer a job to a Blend Kitchen trainee or give some time to talk about career opportunities within their sector.
Partying – This next 18 months is a big one for me and we’re going to be having a few parties! These 2 legends are celebrating 50 years of marriage next year (congratulations mum and dad!) Me and a the majority of my oldest friends turn 40 and I’ve got a daughter who’s turning 5, starting school and wanting a goodies and baddies party at Blend Kitchen with her mates. We’ve all missed those memorable moments with our nearest and dearest this last year and I want Blend Kitchen to become a place where people come to celebrate With those they love the most. Drop us an email to [email protected] if you fancy celebrating a special occasion at Blend Kitchen in the coming year.
Live music – Dave from our front of house team can regularly be found playing Jimi Hendrix at the Green Room’s open mic night when it’s on. Joseph another of our front of house team has spent him time writing song lyrics including a song about Blend Kitchen! Along with this, the past year has been so hard for people in live music and events sectors. Working with friends of Blend Kitchen Hague & White, the kind people at Yamaha have provided us with an amazing set of speakers. This is great news as it means we’ll be able to get our live music events up and running as soon as we are able to. Check out this picture from the brilliant from our time at Pinstone Street. We can’t wait to welcome Sam, Nick, Chrissy and everyone involved in CAST back to Blend Kitchen this year after a year apart!
Healthier people – Blend Kitchen has always worked to improve the mental and physical health of the people we work with. From getting people to be more active, eating a healthier diet to being more connected with their communities and less isolated, we’ve always taken a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. Speaking with Jonathan from the Blend Kitchen team (pictured left here on a pre Christmas trip to our main beer supplier, Triple Point Brewery) the other day, one of his top priorities is to learn how to cook a Sunday roast. He wants to be able to invite his friends round to enjoy a meal with him. I love this ambition from someone who when he joined Blend Kitchen was living predominantly on ready meals and takeaways. We’ll be sharing details of the us Teaching Jonathan the secrets to a Sunday roast in the coming weeks.
Along with very practical support like cookery classes, a little known fact is that my right hand man Justin has been training as a Life Coach. Over the last year he’s been training and in 2021 he will advance to become a Level 7 Life Coach, providing 1 to 1 support to our team helping them set and achieve goals around their health and other life ambitions.
Helping community groups– It’s never been easy to run a community organisation and I’m incredibly fortunate to have an amazingly skilled board of trustees and management team around me. Having this team makes my life relatively straight forward compared to many. Over the last couple of years we’ve been approached by a number of organisations seeking advice on growing their organisation. One we’re helping now is the amazing Adira who have incredible ambitions to tackle mental health stigma in the Black community. While we live in a society that predominantly promotes competition over cooperation, one of my ambitions for Blend Kitchen is to help other organisations get to where they want to be.
As Anthony Bourdain, one of my culinary heroes puts it “travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s OK. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
Blend Kitchen is in good shape to achieve our ambitions but as always we need everyone getting on board the Blend Kitchen Ark and come along for the ride. Buy a meal when we open, provide a work placement, book Blend Kitchen for a party or event, there are numerous ways to help. We really appreciate your continued support and thanks for taking time to read a longer than usual update.
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