At NKD we are lucky enough to have lunch brought in for us on a monthly basis, for us this is a chance to socialise, debate and eat something delicious together, as a team. This month we decided to use our monthly lunch to get to know our local community, and educate ourselves on the importance of second chances. Enter Liberty Kitchen.
Who are the Liberty Kitchen?
Liberty Kitchen are “cooking something good”, they are a scheme designed to give “men a chance for change”. Liberty Kitchen is a street food social enterprise, one that gives the prisoners and ex-prisoners of HMC Pentonville Prison a second chance, and an opportunity to gain new skills in order to re-build their lives and break the cycle of re-offending.
Prisoners and ex-prisoners work on the development of recipes for the meat, fish and vegan balls, and then take this knowledge and run street food stalls at Primrose Hill Market, Leather Lane Market and Kerb in Kings Cross where they can usually be found on varying days of the week. The food is cooked on the spot and giving the men the opportunity to show off their culinary skills and also interact with the public.
What was our experience?
Janet, who heads up the Liberty Kitchen and who has been working with the prison system for over 15 years, came to the office with two of the men from the programme. They came prepared with hot plates and re-created the feel of a street food stall right within our office. They cooked a delicious meal for 40 of us and served lunch for us and our clients, and were very diligent when it came to clearing up too!
But what we loved most of all was the lively lunch experience they created in the office – everyone was discussing the Liberty Kitchen and the good that they do, and it reminded us that we need to be able to think of those within the prison system as people, not statistics from the news, or the mistakes they have made. Ultimately, everyone deserves a second chance, and as a community and a society it is important that we invest in these people and give them the opportunity to better themselves.
Seeing as HMP Pentonville Prison is on our doorstep, we felt like we were supporting our local community by asking the people at Liberty Kitchen to cater for us. At NKD we feel this is important as we aren’t just giving people the resources, we’re encouraging other businesses and people to also support important schemes like this! When everyone helps and everyone is involved, the whole community benefits, which leads to a happier and healthier community – one with lots of independents and worthwhile programmes like the Liberty Kitchen.
Moreover, we loved the food so much and the feel-good experience, so much so that we are having them back at Christmas to cook for us! We think eating together as a team and taking the time to have new experiences and discussions is so important for a happy work place – and ultimately a happy team means happy customers – something we know all about at NKD, read more here.
A big thank you goes to Janet for organising and the guys for being a pleasure, making our Friday delicious, and challenging our thinking. We take our CSR very seriously at NKD and feel privileged to be in a position to support such schemes (more here), we really think that Liberty Kitchen are making a big difference, and helping to make the world of work better!
If you want to read a bit more about the Liberty Kitchen, they can be found here.