Edinburgh Christmas Cheer: Social enterprise to help empower people

Fiona Donaldson, director and chef at Prep Kitchen
Fiona Donaldson, director and chef at Prep Kitchen
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A social enterprise set up to help people grow in confidence with the help of food is gearing up to host a number of festive events to spread some cheer in the run-up to Christmas.

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Using a combination of social work and cheffing experience, Prep Table aims to empower people from all over the Capital who have come up against challenging circumstances.

As well as providing somewhere people can go for a hot meal, Prep Table also offers cooking training to help inspire them with a love of food.

The brains behind the social enterprise is 29-year-old Fiona Donaldson, who explained she created Prep Table from a desire to give something back through good food.

She said: “Having been a chef, seeing the poor conditions chefs endure, the extreme mark-ups that restaurants make at the expense of the public, I took a job at Bethany House Homeless Hostel to try to do something positive and display my belief that food has the power to change lives.

“Whether it’s the confidence that builds from cooking, the relaxation of prepping, the love of giving or the nutrition in eating. Working alongside residents, I was extremely lucky to see some wonderful people find themselves again in the kitchen, or in the dining room.

“Both of these experiences galvanised me to set up Prep Table, to empower others through food and to provide an alternative to the exorbitant prices that are distancing us all from good food and a place to socialise.”

The social enterprise was set up in August and is currently made up of Fiona and a team of eight volunteers with a range of experience from the culinary, marketing and support work fields.

Things are going so well that they are preparing to launch weekly dining events every Friday in the The Charteris Centre at the Pleasance from January 5 onwards.

The sessions will include a choice of three main meals, sides and desserts, complete with a fair pricing structure meaning some will not have to pay. Others will only have to pay a reduced cost and the rest paying for full price tickets.

And until then there are a number of Christmas events to look forward to, including a screening of It’s A Wonderful Life with American-style diner food for up to 200 people.

The event on December 19 at Easter Road stadium is being run in conjunction with the GameChanger partnership and will also feature music from The Barony Contact Point Singing Group.

Meanwhile on December 20, the Prep Table team will be catering for Edinburgh Development Group’s “empathy meal” in conjunction with partner organisations The Charteris Centre, Streetworks, Rock Trust and Cyrenians. Fiona added: “I’m so looking forward to working with organisations and individuals who also feel so passionately about inclusion and empowerment.

“It is so important at a time when cuts are made, rents are rising and prices are 
unaffordable that there are opportunities for everyone to come together to help and encouragement each other and to see their struggles are shared.”

For more information, visit the Prep Table Facebook page.

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk