Help us spread the magic of Cook for Good

by Karen Mattison MBE, Co-Founder in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

Help us spread the magic of Cook for Good

Total raised £70,462

Gift Aid
+ est. £280.25
£75,000 stretch target 15 days left
140% 366 supporters

  Your donation will release extra funding

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Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 9th August 2024 at 2:22pm

Pledge your support and receive your copy of Soup for Good. We receive double for every copy ordered through this match funded campaign

by Karen Mattison MBE, Co-Founder in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

 donated match funding
Aviva Community Fund is providing live match funding

 New stretch target



Who we are

Cook for Good is an award-winning social enterprise that brings businesses and communities together through food.

We’re tackling food insecurity, social isolation and health inequality on a social housing estate in Kings Cross, through a fantastic community food and cooking programme.

Now we're launching Soup for Good, a book of recipes and stories, to raise funds so we can scale our impact and help more communities across London. All the profits from the book will be invested into our work.


What we do

Our approach aims to tackle both food insecurity and its underlying causes through:

  • Surplus food pantry: Providing members with essential groceries at a fraction of the usual cost
  • Weekly soup café: Offering Pantry members a space to catch up with friends and neighbours over tea, coffee, and delicious Cook for Good soup
  • Community kitchen: Creating nutritious meals to share with local residents
  • Cooking classes and courses: Teaching residents aged 5 - 85 how to cook healthy meals from scratch
  • Employment opportunities: Opening up access to jobs in catering and hospitality through a skills training and work experience programme

In just over two years, we've:

  • Supported 350 households as Pantry members
  • Distributed over 16,000 nutritious meals
  • Created 25 new employment opportunities

Nine out of ten people engaging with Cook for Good feel less isolated, eat more healthily, worry less about their weekly shopping costs and enjoy a greater sense of community.


How we do it

We’ve turned a deserted laundry building into a surplus food pantry and soup café. Members pay £3.50 a week to pick up a basket of shopping worth around £35. They also get to enjoy soup, coffee and chat with their neighbours. And they can access support from our community manager and trusted advice organisations to help tackle the root causes of food insecurity: debt, housing issues, health problems and access to good employment. 

We’ve transformed a disused café into a hi-tech community kitchen, offering a wide range of cooking classes for local residents of all ages. It’s also where we host our corporate team building events, which fund much of our current work.

And we run bespoke health and wellbeing programmes, which target key groups within our community who need extra support: 

Our Men's Grub Club is bringing older men into our kitchen to cook, eat and build new friendships, reducing social isolation and improving their wellbeing.

Our Cook for Health course is helping people with diabetes understand how to tackle their condition through food, improve their health

We provide volunteering opportunities in our Pantry, for local people who want to gain some experience and give back to their community. For those who are interested in seeking a career in catering and hospitality, we offer a six-month Community Brigade training programme. Over the last two years, we have provided skills training, work experience and volunteering opportunities for 60 local people.


Why it matters

We operate in Islington, one of London's most deprived areas. Before Cook for Good, there were no subsidised food options within walking distance for the local residents. Many felt disengaged from local services and faced social isolation. Unemployment and economic inactivity due to ill health were prevalent, and financial wellbeing low, with almost half of those employed earning below the London Living Wage. Regularly, half of our members struggled to afford essential food.

“I was prescribed anti-depressants, but when I started coming to the Pantry everything changed.” 

“This place has stopped me and my daughter from going without meals.”

“This is the first time that I have really felt like part of this community – I feel like I have friends here.”


How can you help?

We are launching our first cook book – Soup for Good – to help us raise funds for us to scale our work to tackle food insecurity, health inequality, and social isolation across London. 

The book will be available from October, and while it may feel a bit summery right now to be thinking about soup, it’s never too early to start planning festive thankyous for clients and employees or to buy this gift for friends and family. 

PLUS if you pledge to buy our book through this crowdfunding campaign, we will get five times more funding from our match funders Aviva and Access. So every book sold will raise £125 for us.

Please help us by pledging to pre-order one or multiple copies of our book


What's in the book?

Soup for Good shares our community’s favourite recipes and tells the stories of some of its much-loved characters. It’s beautifully produced and photographed, and full of recipes that have been tried and tested by our fiercest critics (our Pantry members). 


It's packed with soups that you’ll come back to again and again, including donated recipes from our supporters Nigella Lawson, Ed Balls, Karan Gokani, Wichet Khongphoon, and Gordon Brown. There are 50 soup recipes, 24 recipes for no stress breads and delicious toppings, and 13 personal stories from members of the Cook for Good community, written by the Guardian’s Lexy Topping.

Soup for Good is a celebration of soup and community and a demonstration of the power of cooking to change lives and bring people together. And all the profits will be invested in our work.


What we're crowdfunding for

Supporting financial wellbeing in a cost of living crisis

Our surplus food pantry helps individuals facing food insecurity and broader challenges in accessing affordable food. We also provide wraparound support services including debt management and welfare benefit optimisation, helping to build financial resilience within our community. And our cooking classes and courses promote healthy eating and provide opportunities for residents to come together, helping turn neighbours into friends.

Scaling our work

Our goal is to replicate our model on other housing estates in London. To achieve this, we plan to run a pilot programme that will bring together food entrepreneurs, community organisations and housing associations to provide coaching, mentoring and support to create three new community food ventures.

Join us in making a difference

With your support, we can expand our reach and impact, helping more people live healthier, happier lives. Together, we can build a more food-secure London.

Please support us and be part of this transformative journey!


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£25 or more

Soup for Good cookbook

Receive a hardback copy of Soup for Good soon after our October launch.

£50 or more

2 copies of Soup for Good Cookbook

Buy one - give one! Receive 2 hardback copies of Soup for Good soon after our October launch.

£100 or more

4 copies of Soup for Good cookbook

Receive 4 hardback copies of Soup for Good soon after our October launch.

£150 or more

6 copies of Soup for Good cookbook

Receive 6 hardback copies of Soup for Good soon after our October launch.

£250 or more

10 copies of Soup for Good cookbook

Receive 10 hardback copies of Soup for Good soon after our October launch.

£3,500 or more

Teambuilding experience

An invitation for up to 20 people to an exclusive cooking event, hosted by our expert chefs, where you'll learn to make some of our signature soups. This reward includes a Cook for Good apron for everyone who takes part. Available to book from 1st October. "If you’re looking for a corporate event that not only gives your staff the opportunity to come together as a team but also gives back to the local community then look no futher."

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