Following months of hard work and fundraising efforts to get the project off the ground, Life Kitchen at the Lodge, in Mowbray Park, Sunderland was opened in June 2019.
As a non-profit organisation Life Kitchen runs free cookery classes for people living with cancer where treatments can frequently inhibit taste. Since its first permanent cookery school at the Grade II listed Mowbray Park Lodge Life Kitchen has received grant funding to provide over 600 classes to the Clinical Commissioning Group Sunderland, Northern Cancer Alliance and World Cancer Research Fund.
The School will have frequent Life Kitchen cookery classes as well as a community outreach space for local people. It will also double as a food workshop studio for bloggers, photographers, and supper clubs to help pay for the continued up-keep and running of the school.
Food writer and stylist, and Sunderland native Ryan Riley founded Life Kitchen in memory of his mother Krista, who passed away from small cell lung cancer in 2014. Like many, she struggled with loss of taste and appetite during chemotherapy treatment.
All construction-related services, labour, plant and materials were provided free-of-charge from over 40 organisations based in the region, including Jasper Kerr, Turner & Townsend, Ryder Architecture and Sir Robert McAlpine.
Life Kitchen was named 2020 winner of the Leisure category and Project of the Year at the inaugural RICS Social Impact Awards North East