To mark the end of a successful second year of our Friday Night Out project, we've been looking back at its development, writes Rachel Solomon, Youth Programmes Manager. Supported by Islington Giving, the Arsenal Foundation and King's Cross, our partnership project with Arsenal in the Community has gone from strength to strength since last spring, particularly within our Skip Garden's current home in King's Cross.
Sadhbh, Giorgia and I have had brilliant Friday Night Out sessions with local children and young people, continuing to open their eyes to being able to cook healthy, delicious meals. They've tried their hand at concocting flavoursome, nutritious mains such as lentil burgers with beetroot wedges, seasonal sides and Skip Garden salads, making pizzas in our wood-fired oven, as well as trying international dishes from far-flung places, such as Vietnamese summer rolls, and Guatemalan tortillas with Guacamole, Ensalada de papaya, Cozo y mango and Salsa picante.
They've also baked sweet treats using alternative, healthier ingredients, and had an autumnal tea party around Halloween entirely consisting of components made using pumpkin and squash.
They ended 2015's cooking activities with beautiful, colourful canapes - our Global Generation colleagues agree that Sadhbh and I are not just being biased when we say they're the most appealing edible creations we've seen in the Skip Garden - ever.
Also in December, some of our Friday Night Out regulars got together with us to write messages to send out to participants of the Generazione Globale day in Poggiorsini, Italy - bringing together young people, both local and refugees, through food and football - just like Friday Night Out. Read more about this exchange here.
At the latest session this month, the project welcomed back Silvia, who, together with Sadhbh, introduced the young cooks to the theme of 2016 The International Year of Pulses - a topic you are sure to read about again on the blog across different points of the year.
As we look forward to the third year of the project with excitement, we also look back on what has worked really well this year. Everyone has loved trying new tastes, and applying some of their skills at home. Assia, 11, who is one of the participants, has commented on her overall Friday Night Out experience, saying “I thoroughly enjoy working with lots of different people of all ages. I’ve learned about teamwork and I’ve built my confidence too.”
Between last April and now, we have had over 240 attendances at 20 sessions - a notable increase from last year, as more local residents have become familiar with the project. We hope to continue reaching out to even more young people in 2016.