Bermondsey Community Kitchen
In our BID proposal we stated that we wanted to help with youth unemployment and aimed to help establish a cookery school in the area. Through our connections with local support agencies we were able to assist in helping to gain the initial funding and offer ongoing support to get the project off the ground.
Mike Donovan the Founder and Chair of Bermondsey Community Kitchen, is a local man who has run many successful businesses throughout his working life who decided that he wanted to open a new eatery in the Blue to offer something different to the usual ‘café food’ available in the area and after renovating the premises at 9 Market Place, opened Duns Deli, which became an instant success bringing many new customers to the area and establishing a great reputation for its quality menu of traditional British food.
A regular visitor to Dun’s was Russell Dryden, who at the time was chair of the BBBA and also a board member of the Big Local South Bermondsey; a local organisation dedicated to improving the lives of local people. One day Mike commented that there seemed to be “so many youngsters hanging around the market with nothing to do and nowhere to go” and mentioned that he would like to open a cookery school in the unused space above the Deli, to offer something positive to young people in the community, he has always felt passionately about. Russell felt that he could help and introduced him to Ann Clayton, the Local Community Engagement Manager for Big Local South Bermondsey, who steered Mike in the direction of the right organisations who could help with funding and further advice.
Mike seized the opportunity, rolled up his sleeves and undertook the task in relentless fashion and after two years of hard and passionate graft with the support of his family and innumerable volunteers and more grant funding secured by his daughter Shannon, the space was gradually kitted out with all the necessary utensils and equipment. The first cohort of students was recruited and began training in early in 2015 and the Bermondsey Community Kitchen was officially opened in September 2015 by celebrated Michelin star chef Mr Raymond Blanc. The perseverance and determination that Mike is noted for had succeeded.
The Bermondsey Community Kitchen is a now a valuable community asset offering free Level 1 City and Guilds Food Preparation and Cooking qualifications plus support for students in gaining employment post training and in April 2017 took over the management of the Deli. All profits are put back into the project which is now branching out into many different initiatives to help sustain its long term future. The help and ongoing support of Blue Bermondsey and the many local community organisations, especially Big Local South Bermondsey, all who believed in this unique training facility for our area, helped Mike’s vision become a reality.
To find out more about Bermondsey Community Kitchen – CLICK HERE