Meet the Streets to Kitchen cover star
Since we launched our Streets to Kitchen campaign last year, one smiling face has dominated our publicity: that of Navlet Anderson. We first encountered Navlet on our visits to the St. Mungo’s Recovery College at New Street, and couldn’t help but be drawn in by her infectious enthusiasm, honesty, big laugh and unquestionable talent for striking a pose!
As a keen and talented cook, who has been known to spend all night cooking meals for the College’s clients and staff from her own home, Navlet has taken a keen interest in the project’s development. Even though the course hasn’t yet started, she’s the first to sign up and has aspirations to be the first chef to make use of the College’s spruced up facilities.
Read on as Navlet tells us in her own words why she was inspired to seize this opportunity, and don’t forget you can contribute to the Streets to Kitchen project yourself, helping to open doors, build confidence and improve well-being for people affected by homelessness in Bristol:
“I lived for over twenty years in addiction following a difficult childhood. I had long periods of time where I was homeless. I was vulnerable and drugs made me feel better about myself.
“Following a short stay in prison I found myself with nowhere to live when I was released. I was offered a place in a hostel. It was here my life began to change. Through sheer determination I stopped taking drugs. I am proud to say I did this by myself.
“I was offered the volunteering role on reception at the Compass Centre. It opened my eyes, I was humbled by the amount of people who were homeless and I made it my mission to help people.
“After a few months I moved to St Mungo’s New Street reception where I work with people who are further along in the recovery process. I love meeting people and working on reception but it’s the kitchen that inspires me. A hot meal and a smiling face goes a long way to make people feel better.
“That’s why I am so excited about the Better Food project, Streets to Kitchen. There have been times in my life when I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from, food is close to my heart and fuels the soul. I had to work hard to find security from within myself.
“I can’t wait to learn new skills and use them to help transform New Street into a cafe. To see the kitchen up and running would make me very happy. When I retire I can look back and say I was part of something good, something that encourages people to choose the right path, to build their confidence and self-esteem so they can help themselves.”
Donate to Streets to Kitchen, Better Food’s project raising money for Square Food Foundation, enabling them to train clients of St. Mungo’s Recovery College in cookery and food service skills, and reinvigorate the College’s kitchen facilities.
Square Food Foundation registered charity no. 1173323