Article Text

Download PDFPDF

12 Evaluating the impact of a sustainable kitchen supplying affordable surplus-food based meals to local communities in Winchester
  1. Luke Buckner1,
  2. Pairavi Gnanananthan1,
  3. Charlie Howie1,
  4. Georgie Lobo-Horth2,
  5. Chintan Vora1 and
  6. Rebecca Perrin1
  1. 1Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, UK
  2. 2Royal Hampshire County Hospital, UK
  3. 3Public Health England, Wessex Region, UK


Background Community kitchens comprise of small groups of people who meet regularly to prepare meals, and are a means to develop kitchen skills, improve nutrition and diet diversity, and to reduce social isolation. FirstBite Café is a community kitchen based in Winchester, Hampshire founded in 2016 that has aimed to re-use food that would otherwise be destroyed, to produce high quality and affordable meals for its local community

Objectives We sought to evaluate the impact FirstBite has had on its customers, volunteers, and wider community. Concurrently we hoped to produce local data on the role of community kitchens and possible recommendations on the continued development of the Café.

Methods A questionnaire was developed to capture demographics, attitudes, and perceptions of customers towards the café, and the impact the café has had on them. Two volunteer focus groups were run, asking what values attracted them to the café, what prompted re-attendance, who benefits from the café, and where they see the café going forward.

Results Of the 67 respondents, the largest proportion of customers were aged between 55 and 75, and 41.7% lived alone; with the majority attending for over 12 months. The factors most appreciated were the food (87%), company (78%), affordability (75%) and core values of the kitchen (48%). The focus groups corroborated the greatest benefit came from developing social skills and confidence, giving a sense of purpose and community, and reduced social isolation in the elderly, those with mental health issues, and background of substance misuse.

Conclusions The results of this evaluation were overwhelmingly positive, with the impact of the café on reducing social isolation and providing nutritious and affordable food echoed throughout. The barriers that FirstBite is now facing revolve around infrastructure and accessibility, and a permanent location with greater space would continue to extend its effectiveness.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.