Manchester Youth Zone

We've worked with charity Manchester Youth Zone and Fusion21 Foundation to help fund a 'Learning Kitchen', supporting young people to develop employability skills and improve wellbeing.

Children’s charity, Manchester Youth Zone (MYZ), works with some of North Manchester’s most vulnerable young people. Part of the Onside Network of Youth Zones – and based in the disadvantaged area of Harpurhey, MYZ offers a safe place to enjoy positive activities and meet with youth workers. Its ultimate aim is to help young people lead healthier and happier lives.

The 'Learning Kitchen'

For this project, MYZ wanted to create a youth facility focused on enhancing employability and wellbeing.

The ‘Learning Kitchen’ project aimed to develop enterprise initiatives, while exploring healthy eating and tackling food poverty.

Our funding, along with Fusion21 Foundation‘s contribution, helped to build a fully equipped high-quality training kitchen.

Now complete, the facility is designed and ready to help young people:

  • Learn how to cook
  • Develop a range of transferable skills
  • Explore creativity and enterprise potential
  • Help develop employment skills
  • Obtain accreditations to develop CV’s
  • Establish independent healthy eating routines
  • Discuss self-respect and wellbeing

The COVID-19 pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, project plans were altered to realign with restrictions.

During this time the facility was used to pack MYzone boxes for families experiencing financial hardship. These boxes included recipes and ingredients to get the whole family cooking.

The kitchen was also used to host online Zoom cooking sessions, before moving to 1-1 sessions when restrictions eased. Now the facility is being utilised to its full potential

The Results

The funding provided has resulted in the development of a fully equipped high-quality training kitchen.

The ‘Learning Kitchen’ has enabled MYZ to work directly with families, teaching them how to make affordable meals and source cost-effective ingredients. Young people have also been supported to develop vital employment skills.

Project outcomes to date include:

  • 100+ young people have spent time in the kitchen
  • 12,000 free meals issued to families identified by multi-agency work
  • 80 families provided with recipes and ingredients
  • 900 live zoom sessions – including cookery
  • A What’s Cooking event led by young people, when MYZ reopened its doors
  • Breaking the ice between people and starting to develop bonds
  • A long-term legacy project, benefiting young people and the community

Alistair Smith, Director of External Affairs and Social Investment at The Guinness Partnership said:

“Far too often we hear about the challenges young people face, with the lack of opportunities and role models, something that has further escalated since the pandemic hit. It’s initiatives like the ‘Learning Kitchen’ that bridge the gap between education and work, providing young people with a safe place to access opportunities that raise aspirations in a fun and supportive way whilst building skills and confidence levels.”

We’re proud to be part of the ‘Learning Kitchen’ benefiting hundreds of young people in Harpurhey and beyond and we are excited to continue building this successful partnership.

Amanda Naylor, CEO at Manchester Youth Zone said:

“The support and funding we have received from the Fusion21 Foundation and The Guinness Partnership has been incredible and we are delighted to showcase our newest space, the ‘Learning Kitchen’.

“This is a safe place where young people can thrive, from boosting employability skills to exploring enterprise initiatives and focusing on improving health and wellbeing. The success of this facility through a challenging period speaks volumes.”