Our Knee High Design Challenge idea brings together Stockwell Partnership’s work with migrant families in Lambeth with the Brixton People’s Kitchen model of bringing people together while reducing waste food.

Since May, Stockwell Partnership has been working with the Brixton People’s Kitchen to run cookery sessions for parents in a local Children’s Centre. Parents tell us they like the project because they meet new people and learn how to cook different types of food. We see close friendships and support networks forming over the sessions and a keen team of parent volunteers has emerged. In September, the group organised a feast for families at Larkhall One O’Clock Club, as part of Stockwell Festival.

We see the potential for this project to make a difference to the lives of migrant families, through strengthening support networks and increasing parent’s engagement in their local Children’s Centre. Over the past few weeks, we have been researching, testing and developing our idea of a network of self-help cookery groups led by migrant parents.

We presented the idea during a focus group with parents from the Horn of Africa and the project was met with lots of enthusiasm by the group! One parent was excited about learning to cook food from different cultures and sharing recipes with other parents. Another parent explained that since the local brunch club closed, she is struggling with her child who is fussy with food. The child used to eat at the brunch club, because other children were. One mum expressed frustration about the lack of space in her flat for her child to play and her desire to get out and spend time with other parents.

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What comes across from all parents is the importance of flexibility; parents want services to be open and welcoming, rather than strictly timetabled. They want to be able to relax and connect with other parents. Many participants were unaware of what services existed locally. We want to explore the self-help aspect of the cookery project further, to look at how the cookery sessions could help parents to identify opportunities and sources of support in their community.

This Thursday, we are bringing together the group who inspired our Parent’s Kitchen idea to help us shape the model.

Update by Leila from Stockwell Partnership