My name is Bertie Herrtage, I’m a coach here at Crowdfunder UK and I’m on an adventure. Since August I have been travelling across the UK, from Cornwall to Scotland, meeting with and interviewing 10 of my favourite projects. These 10 wonderful stories will form the basis of a publication which I myself am putting together, with the aim of shining a light on all of the good things that are happening and the incredible people behind them.
Made in Hackney is a local London based community kitchen which provides free community cooking classes. All of these classes are exclusively plant based, educating people about the culinary diversity available at their fingertips which doesn’t cost the earth, in both senses of word.
What’s happening to our communities?
When I think about communities, I imagine an old fashioned street crowded with people, bunting flapping above and its’ residents sharing gossip and trading cups of sugar. While strong communities of course exist and are fine examples to the rest of us, it is a common complaint, especially in the larger cities like London, that we no longer know our neighbours and are therefore relative strangers to one another.
Society has been in a state of constant flux over the last few decades and the consequences of progress and modern life have had innumerable impacts on our traditional view on communities. Familiar spaces that encourage integration with your community are in the minority of what’s available on the average high street. It’s tough for young families to buy, for independent businesses to thrive and for community assets like youth centres to survive.
The break down in social cohesion within our neighbourhoods can be attributed to may causes, one of the most popular being technology and our ability to socialise via our devices rather than needing to seek company from outside. With the depletion of meeting places and are ability to live a comfortable siloed existence it becomes much easier to maintain our personal barriers and to go about our business with our heads cast down to the ground.
Social isolation and loneliness are large topics of conversation at the moment, how can anyone be lonely in such a crowded environment as London? I think as human-beings we have a need to socialise, to be known, to be understood and to be part of something greater than ourselves. This is why I strongly believe that taking an active role in your community can significantly improve wellbeing in society. If you engage with your community, you become familiar and therefore belong.
An MIH solution
For Made in Hackney, food is a wonderful binding agent and their cooking classes are available and marketed to everyone. What you end up with is a rich mix of people from ranging ages, cultures, economic profiles and backgrounds. A relaxed environment encourages participation and teamwork and this melting pot of cultures provides a very interesting mixture of ideas, opinions and stories.
Made in Hackney promotes healthy eating, plant based diets and getting to know other people in your community. If you are in London and would like to learn, meet a great mixture of people and have fun then I would recommend paying a visit to Made In Hackney and strapping yourself into an apron.
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