Katie’s Kitchen at YMCA, an informal get together for young women to come and make and share lunch on a Friday was the idea of Neelam and named after her daughter Katie. Neelam moved to Henley just over a year ago with her daughter after being victims of domestic abuse. Neelam, who has been an Educational Welfare Officer for 15 years, approached YMCA Henley to start a Katie’s Kitchen pilot scheme last September which was generously funded by the John Hodges Trust.
Neelam said, “There was nowhere in Henley for young women to go and meet and chat informally and in confidence. Making and sharing a lunch is a great icebreaker and the young women learnt and shared a lot through their Friday lunchtimes.”
The young women during the pilot scheme enjoyed making different dishes together which included curries and pasta dishes. At some of the sessions, the group also had special guests, one of the highlights was a fitness session from LA Fitness in Henley.
At the end of the year, Neelam asked the group where they would like to go for an outing and Odds Farm was the popular choice. Neelam said, “They had a great day out feeding the animals and having fun altogether.”
Katie’s Kitchen was such a success that it will re-open its doors on Friday 13 March from 1-3pm at the YMCA hall and every Friday thereafter. They have been given some initial funding from the Soha Housing Wishing Well Fund and will be applying for other community grants too.
Neelam went on to say, “There’s lots of specialist help for young women at the extreme edges of the spectrum but Katie’s Kitchen will be there for young women who just need a bit of support and the opportunity to just be able to chat in a non-judgemental environment. Katie’s Kitchen will also have project goal when it re-opens which will be to raise funds towards the purchase of the YMCA Henley housing.”
Katie’s Kitchen is open to any aged women in Henley who would like to join – it’s not just for YMCA residents. There are limited spaces available so you’ll need to book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01491 411849.