Pilot ‘heal kitchen’ concept launches in Suffolk

A SERIES of Supportive Suppers and Kindness Lunches will be starting in the county this month, aimed at helping those experiencing eating disorders.

Recently launched social enterprise, Wednesday’s Child, will host a number of carefully curated lunch and supper occasions which are open to anyone on a recovery journey, or those supporting someone through their illness.

The pilot phase includes events in Melton, Woodbridge, Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe, Ipswich and Framlingham.

Wednesday’s Child was founded by 41-year-old Debbie Watson, who has used her own 20-year experience of an eating disorder to develop services, training, vocational match-making, and wellbeing gift-boxes – all focused on aiding those seeking recovery from their mental health difficulties.

Debbie Watson wednesdays child
Wednesday’s Child founder, Debbie Watson

She said: “Eating disorders may still seem to many to be a mere matter of ‘someone being difficult about food’, or ‘wanting to look thin’, but they carry the highest mortality rate of any mental health illness and really need more understanding and solutions to address the growing rate of those affected.

“We launched Wednesday’s Child announcing our carefully curated wellness boxes, but alongside those, we have been developing lots of events and training initiatives designed to enable more people to gain freedom from their distressing mental health illness – whilst also helping those who provide care and support in family and community networks.”

Each of the Supportive Suppers and Kindness Lunches is being delivered under Wednesday’s Child’s ‘Heal Kitchen’ initiative and will feature a light meal in a privately hired venue, with attendee numbers kept to around 12 for each occasion.

Guest speakers will feature, either to talk about wellness, or their own recovery journey, whilst other events will include practical food demonstrations, including such activities as making overnight oats, preparing salad jars, or producing nutrient-crammed smoothies.

Debbie added: “I’m so pleased that we’re able to pilot these gentle food occasions in Suffolk. I know such events would have been exactly the sort of thing which I would have been looking for at times in my recovery when the thought of a large restaurant felt just too overwhelming.

“The natural assumption is that someone with an eating disorder hates food and dislikes eating, but the truth is, many have a great desire to get back into cooking and dining but want to do this in a way which feels less intimidating.

“At a time when mental health resources are so stretched, but eating disorder rates are rising, it’s imperative we find new ways of serving those in the community who are struggling with their issues and who might end up becoming socially isolated if their illness is allowed to take over.”

Wednesday’s Child’s first Kindness Lunch takes place on Wednesday 17th July at Honey + Harvey in Melton, in a designated ‘invite-only’ space upstairs in the venue. Only those participating in the occasion will be allowed access.

The lunch starts promptly at 12 noon and finishes at 130. Tickets are priced at £10.

Debbie reiterated her thanks to the restaurant and venue owners who have been quick to ‘get’ the concept and show their support.

“I am so very grateful to the likes of Harvey at Honey+Harvey, who have sat down with me and understood what I am seeking to achieve with Wednesday’s Child’s events,” she said.

“Eating out is hugely daunting when you’re in the midst of an eating disorder or attempting recovery, so the more we can help people take gentle steps back to sociable dining, the better.

“I’m really keen to hear from any venue in this region or beyond who wants us to stage an event at their café or restaurant, whilst also being really open to staging occasions in schools, workplaces or community facilities.”

For further information about the planned events, or to know more about how Wednesday’s Child is reinvesting into raising awareness of eating disorders and supporting those experiencing the illness, email debbie@wednesdayschild.co.uk.

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