Part of our Building a Better Tomorrow initiative is about enabling staff to volunteer their time and skills to make a difference. We also partner with our clients when there are opportunities for us support charities.
Once such project that we were recently proud to be involved with is Life Kitchen. It was launched by food writer and stylist Ryan Riley following the death of his mother Krista to small cell lung cancer. One of the side effects of his mother’s chemotherapy treatment was loss of appetite and taste. It had prompted Ryan to create the Life Kitchen and an associated cookbook, which aims to bring back the fun and enjoyment of eating at a difficult time, through creative recipes. Life Kitchen offers award-winning free cooking classes, for people living with cancer where they can learn recipes designed to help mitigate the demoralising and often dramatic changes in taste that result from the treatment, and to do so alongside others facing similar challenges.
As its popularity grew, Ryan managed to find a permanent site for the school in Mowbray Park Lodge, located within Mowbray Park Sunderland. However it required a lot of work. Built in 1856, the Victorian gate lodge at the park entrance was described as “disused” and “derelict” and had been vacant since 2016.
Our client SRM asked us if we would like to get involved in the refurbishment of the building by providing the electrical aspect of the job and we were delighted to help.
Two Integral electricians spent 464.5 hrs over a 7 week duration installing new electrics throughout the gutted building. We covered the cost of labour and most of the materials, although some were also donated by CMC.
At the launch in June where all those who had helped make it a reality were invited, Ryan said:
"What we learned is that Life Kitchen provides fun, flavour and an escape from a time in people’s lives that can be incredibly difficult. Many thanks for all of your collective contributions – without which this would not have been possible."
The school now delivers free Life Kitchen cookery classes as well as a community outreach space for local people and visitors from all over the UK and abroad. It will double as a food workshop studio for photographers, bloggers and supper clubs to help pay for the continued up-keep and running of the space.