Jack Cork and Ben Mee officially opened the new Burnley Community Kitchen in the heart of Burnley town centre yesterday.
Joined by the Mayor of Burnley Charlie Briggs, the Clarets' stars unveiled the new facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by a cookery lesson in the teaching kitchen and a tour of the space.
Following 18 months of preparation prior to the opening, the Burnley Community Kitchen – operated by the Clarets’ official charity Burnley FC in the Community – will now aim to use food as the catalyst for positive change in the town.
Inclusive of a food bank, a community café, a teaching kitchen and an internet café, the long-term goal is to help lift users out of food bank reliance by offering employment, financial and educational support.
Paul France, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Burnley FC in the Community, said: “We uncovered some shocking statistics around food bank usage and obesity levels in the town and we felt could use the influence of the football club to create real change.
“For example, 5,000 children in Burnley are living in poverty and 69% of adults are overweight or obese.
"This has to change. We hope the food bank facility will ease the strain for these families and support them in a dignified and purposeful way.
“The teaching kitchen space will be used by Burnley FC in the Community staff to offer cookery lessons and guidance on how to create healthy, balanced meals so that people in the town can start to live healthier lives.
“After 18 months of hard work, this is such a milestone event. Without the help, support and generosity of the many partners involved in this project, it simply would not have happened. I extend my thanks to each and every one of them.”
Clarets skipper Mee added: "It’s my first time visiting today and it's a fantastic facility delivered by the club, the Community and all the partners.
"It’s great to see everyone digging in and helping out people in need around this town.”
There was a soft opening of the Kitchen in August. Since then, the facility has supported 290 people, 103 of whom are children.
Burnley FC in the Community would like to thank all the many funding, refurbishment and food supplier partners who have helped create the Burnley Community Kitchen.
If you require support from the Burnley Community Kitchen, or you would like to offer your help as a volunteer, or to make a food donation, you can find the facility in Unit 83 on the upper level of the Charter Walk Shopping Centre.
For more information, please contact Anita Orchard at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01282 448577