Auntie’s Cookery Academy launches at Milton Keynes Cookery School

Posted 11th June 2024

A Milton Keynes charity is empowering care leavers to take control of their future through food.

Auntie’s Cookery Academy, a newly established charity dedicated to empowering care experienced young people through culinary education, celebrated its official launch on Thursday, May 9th, 2024, at Milton Keynes Cookery School. The event, attended by esteemed guests including the Mayor of Milton Keynes Mick Legg, Councillor Emily Darlington, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire Kurshida Mirza, Councillor Shazna Muzammil, local entrepreneurs, representatives from MKFM, MKCTV, Learn Plus Us, and many more, marked the beginning of a transformative journey for the organisation.

Auntie’s Cookery Academy aims to help bridge the gap between being fully supported, and being expected to live independently.
Their approach empowers young people, aged 16 to 24, by equipping them with the vital life skills and employability training they need. Alongside Learn Plus Us, they’ve developed a curriculum for learners to achieve an award – certified by the NCFE – by completing a 12-week course which covers not only key cookery skills, but budgeting and batch cooking, using leftovers, recycling and waste, as well as health and hygiene.

And their commitment doesn’t stop there. The charity places them right at the core of a genuine social enterprise – with the chance to earn a wage on the ‘Food Truck’, gaining work experience to take into hospitality and catering if they choose.

Guests were treated to a delightful evening filled with drinks from the recently renovated yellow horse box donation bar and mouth-watering dishes, including delicious Thai green curry and the opportunity to make their own spring rolls in the cookery school.

Belle Lawrence, Chair of Auntie’s Cookery Academy, delivered a heartfelt speech, expressing gratitude for the overwhelming support and outlining the charity’s mission to support young individuals with care experience through culinary education to unlock their potential. Lawrence emphasised the importance of community involvement in achieving the charity’s goals and invited attendees to contribute to the cause.

The launch event also featured a raffle, with prizes generously donated by Frosts Garden Centre, Wooden Hill Coffee, Maya Restaurant, Frost Family Van Hire, Auntie Em’s Kitchen, MK Cookery School, Popworld, MKFM, and Fabbi Abbi.

On a delightfully warm and sunny evening, guests gathered in the decorated courtyard to learn more about Auntie’s Cookery Academy’s aims and explore opportunities for the Milton Keynes community to support the cause. The charity aims to raise £5,000 to kickstart its initiatives and is seeking long-term partners to help reach its £10,000 goal to deliver the course to the first cohort.

Belle Lawrence commented, “We are overwhelmed by the support we’ve received at our launch event. The enthusiasm and generosity of everyone who attended demonstrates the community’s commitment to creating positive change for care experienced young people. We are excited about the future of Auntie’s Cookery Academy and look forward to making a lasting impact in young people’s lives.”

Emily-Jane Dale, said, “As Co-Founder of Auntie’s Cookery Academy, I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to support young people as they navigate the challenging transition into adulthood. The kitchen isn’t just a place to cook; it’s where memories are made, bonds are formed, and life lessons are learned. I’m incredibly passionate about using food as a tool to build confidence and empower care experienced individuals on their journey. Together, let’s create a brighter future, one delicious meal at a time!”

For more information about Auntie’s Cookery Academy and how to support its mission, please visit Donations can be made via bank transfer or GoFundMe. Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.