A charity in Sheffield is providing hot meals to those experiencing food poverty thanks to a grant of £2,000 from the Wesleyan Foundation.

Open Kitchen Social Club (OKSC) was established in June 2014 and aims to provide weekly hot meals and activities for disadvantaged, homeless or vulnerable people.

The Wesleyan Foundation is managed by the Heart of England Community Foundation; grants are awarded through a network of nine Community Foundations which includes the South Yorkshire Community Foundation.

Funding from the Wesleyan Foundation will go towards providing a café, one-day a week, to attendees of the Sanctuary in Sheffield.

The venue hosts multiple organisations including the Red Cross, Refugee Law and Justice and Citizens Advice Bureau which all strive towards supporting disadvantaged people in the city.

As well as providing food for clients attending sessions and meetings, volunteers and staff will also be able to purchase food on a ‘sliding cost basis’ allowing people to eat together as equals.

Katelyn McKeown, Sessional Worker at OKSC, said:

“OKSC started in response to growing food poverty and social isolation which was apparent in the Sheffield community in 2014.


“Founding members of OKSC were either working with vulnerable asylum seekers and homeless people or from that background themselves. We set up to serve the community we were already part of.


“Grants are essential to OKSC. They pay for room hire, sessional staff to ensure that sessions are always well managed, and they enable us to buy all the ingredients we don’t have donated.


“The Sanctuary is an excellent resource that asylum seekers can access on a drop-in basis. The most popular day is a Tuesday because OKSC are serving delicious food.”

Ruth Willis, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire Community Foundation, said:

“OKSC have been working for years to support some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Through good food, peer support and group activities they provide a place of welcome to refugees, asylum seekers and the wider community.


“We were thrilled when OKSC were awarded a grant from the Wesleyan Foundation Fund to open a café once a week at The Sanctuary in Sheffield city centre.


“The café is a perfect addition to The Sanctuary, as it already houses so many key organisations supporting asylum seekers and refugees in Sheffield. By providing free and reduced cost meals, OKSC are giving vulnerable people the opportunity to gather, socialise and eat together in a space in which they feel safe.


“We cannot thank the Wesleyan Foundation enough for working with SYCF so this grant funding can have such a positive impact.”  

Tina Costello, Chief Executive of the Heart of England Community Foundation, said:

“It’s great to be a part of this process, working with Wesleyan Assurance and other Community Foundations in our network means we can support some brilliant organisations across the UK.


“OKSC are doing some fabulous work and I wish them all the success in the future.”

The Wesleyan Foundation was launched in June 2017 by specialist financial services mutual Wesleyan, administered by the Heart of England Community Foundation, and has already provided more than £1 million in funding to over 200 charities, community groups and social enterprises around the UK.

For more information about the Wesleyan Foundation and to apply for funding visit https://www.wesleyan.co.uk/foundation/.