‘Power of plants’ bringing people together through food

Hundreds of people in Hackney will benefit from new cookery classes which harness the power of plants to bridge the generation gap.

The sessions are being run by pioneering vegan community kitchen charity Made In Hackney in response to demand from older people for inter-generational classes.

They are being funded by an £83,000, two-year grant from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

Alongside the cookery courses, the grant will fund five ‘community feasts’ a year aimed at bringing older and younger people together to cook and eat.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“In the past few years, vegan cuisine has become big business, but with more than a decade under its belt, Made In Hackney has been a trailblazer in promoting healthy, plant-based eating.

“It does a fantastic job of bringing people together through food, and teaming up older and younger generations will help tackle social isolation and promote stronger, more cohesive communities.”

Alongside cookery classes, the Clapton Common-based charity also runs a community meals scheme delivering 1,000 meals a week to people in need.

Made In Hackney Development Manager Fran Humber said:

“Cooking using fresh fruit and vegetables is a way for people to improve their diet as part of a healthier lifestyle, and they can also save money as cooking plant-based food from scratch is very affordable.

“We've had people come along who’ve been able to improve their health, manage existing conditions and also to make friends and feel more connected with the community – that's the ideal outcome.”

People can register for the inter-generational cookery classes by emailing classes@madeinhackney.org or calling 020 8442 4266. More information is at www.madeinhackney.org

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, awarding grants of over £28 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Case study: “I thought ‘I’m never going to feel full up with just cabbage’.”

Pauline, from Hackney, heard about Made In Hackney through Hackney Diabetes Centre in September 2021 after being diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and has been a regular attendee at classes ever since.

She said: “The first cooking class I came to, it was my first experience of plant-based cooking and I thought ‘I’m never going to feel full up just with cabbage’, but I started eating the meal and felt full.

“The biggest difference is that the classes have helped me plan my meals. Now I am always roasting vegetables and I rarely cook meat unless my grandchildren come around.

“My blood sugar is now within the normal range, which I struggled with for many years. I feel that I’m managing my health a lot better. It’s helpful to be in a class with people with similar needs, to make you feel part of something and it’s not just you in isolation.”

Picture captions

(1) Aikeda at a Nigerian vegan community cookery class at Made In Hackney led by vegan chef Nena Ubani

(2) Geraldine at a Made In Hackney community feast

(3) The charity turns fresh fruit and vegetables into mouth-watering meals

(4/5/6) Hackney residents tuck into a community feast near Made In Hackney’s base at Clapton Common

- City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK –  www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge Houses Estates, a charity founded in 1097 to maintain London Bridge, and Members of its Court of Common Council form the Bridge House Estates Board.

Bridge House Estates is now responsible for maintaining Tower, London, Southwark, Millennium and Blackfriars Bridges, and its grants team, City Bridge Trust – founded in 1995 – awards over £28 million a year to good causes across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services
City of London Corporation
07738 862229 | tim.fletcher@cityoflondon.gov.uk