There's nothing like a pandemic to disrupt all of our plans, and many of us were left wondering what we might do to entertain our children in these summer holidays, as well as keeping up with their appetites. Many of GGT's community partners usually have a big programme of activities during the holidays, but normal activities had to be shelved, the idea for a Holiday Kitchen was born thanks to a collaboration between community organisations, local councillors, Gloucester City Council and supported by GGT.
Dawn Barnes, Project Manager from The Venture: White City, who has been one of the driving forces behind the Holiday Kitchen said: "The Holiday Kitchen was set up to encourage our local families to meet up in safe outdoor community spaces to socialise, share a free hot lunch, pick up some resources to help keep children creative and active and to access any further support they might need. We've seen lots of families each week, many travelling between the various venues to meet up with friends - lots of whom they haven't seen for a long while because of the lockdown restrictions."
"Parents and carers have told us that it has been great to have a reason to get out of the house and enjoy the company of others whilst picking up free resources to help relieve boredom. We have also been able to offer a variety of additional activities alongside the holiday kitchen project including socially distanced drama sessions, free books, creative workshops and sports days."
The Holiday Kitchen has been providing up to 100 meals a day and over 4,200 meals in total will be served over the holidays from Tommy the tuk tuk, thanks to the very generous support of local organisation Generation Events, who not only supplied Tommy but also team members to cook and serve the food.
Ross Nicholl who runs the Club at Tuffley Park and Generation Events said: "We really wanted to support the Holiday Kitchen not only through The Club @ Tuffley Park CIC but also through our other company Generation Events Gloucestershire because we knew how hard COVID-19 has affected families. Our main aim is to reduce isolation and help tackle food poverty so this fitted right in with what we do. Our team has been a huge part of making this happen and really got into the community spirit whilst doing it."
The events have taken place at locations across Gloucester with thanks to GL Communities, The Redwell Centre, The Venture White City and The Club at Tuffley Park, and have been supported by Play Gloucestershire's Play Rangers and the LOOP Team who have helped to run Sports Day activities in the last week of the holidays.
In addition craft packs have been put together by The Venture: White City with a different theme every week, given away free to residents to take home and make.
Mark Gale, CEO of Gloucestershire Gateway Trust who have supported the project said: "The Holiday Kitchen has been an incredible collaboration between our community partners and other local organisations. Residents have really enjoyed themselves, and although it might not have been what we all had planned for this summer, it's definitely something we'd like to repeat next year in some form. A big thank you to everyone involved, including the team at Generation Events who have really got behind this initiative and given their time to help."