Community investment transforms kitchen for homeless young people

A communal kitchen in a supported housing scheme for young homeless and vulnerable people in Newmarket has been transformed thanks to a recent community investment project.

Pictured (L to R): Mark Careless, Support Worker Newmarket Open Door; Adam Smith from Essex & Kent Electrical; Fiona Butcher, Placemaking and Partnership Manager Orbit; Alfred Duro from MPS Housing

Newmarket Open Door, who run the scheme at Portland House for people aged 16-24, approached local housing provider Orbit for help to carry out the renovations. Leveraging the social value requirements placed upon its contractors, Orbit worked with one of its repairs and maintenance contractors MPS, to fund and carry out the work.

The kitchen now benefits from brand new kitchen units, flooring, appliances and lighting, and is a much-improved space for residents to prepare their meals.

Charles Dore from Newmarket Open Door said: “Portland House provides much needed accommodation and support to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Our aim is to equip the young people who stay here with the skills they need to eventually move on to independent living, so having a fully-functioning and up to date kitchen is essential for supporting them to develop those essential life skills. We’re all really thrilled with the result.”

Fiona Butcher, Place Making and Partnership Manager for Orbit, which manages 250 homes in Newmarket and the surrounding area, said: “Orbit is not just a housing provider and landlord. We’re committed to investing in our communities and making a positive difference to people’s lives, and we look to our contractors to reflect and support us in these aims. By funding this project we were able to provide a safe, secure and ultimately working kitchen for very vulnerable young people in the community, some of whom could be our customers in the future when they’re ready to move into a home of their own.”

Sara Byrne, Senior Contract Manager from MPS, added: “We thoroughly enjoy working in partnership with Orbit on projects such as this. It’s great to hear that the work we have done will make such a difference to young people within the community. We will make sure that all the teams and our partner contractor who worked with us hear the good feedback and we look forward to working together on projects such as this in the future.”