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The University of Southampton
Social Impact Lab

Community Oven

Community Oven was established in 2015 with the aim of bringing people together through food in their communities. By doing this we aim to combat the diminishing of community in the UK and by re-building community we hope to foster important social bonds which help reduce social isolation and loneliness and make life frankly, much better. We have run a number of initiatives since we started including street parties and cooking classes to help bring people together in rural and urban communities. 

Community Oven at work

 These initiatives were initially focused in rural East Sussex and more recently trialed in Brighton. We have recently worked with Sussex University to run workshops using cooking as a way of accessing students who are socially isolated with the aim of giving them confidence and socialisation through cooking and eating together. Our courses covered mindfulness, altruism and looking after others to bring a sense of belonging and meaning to students university experience. In Brighton we also worked with marginalised groups to bring opportunities for cooking and eating together inc homeless, unemployed, youth groups, families and mental health groups.

Community Oven at work

A large part of our future focus is mixing groups of people together in order to bring about opportunities for community creation. We would like to work more with universities as a way of engaging with students and then in turn the students engaging with their local communities. We feel this is a very good model as we get to work with students who want to make a difference and who have the time and energy to put into a community projects, with the support of the universities who want to create well-rounded experiences for their students.

More information about Community Oven
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