Rush over to Rushden community space to see what's on the menu
A Rushden volunteer-run community space will kick off their action-packed programme with an expanded high tea session thanks to a kitchen refurbishment..
RUSH 2The DEN was founded by Nina Robinson in 2014 after she saw a need to support babies, children, young people, and their carers in the town.
Based in the former St John Ambulance Rooms in Fitzwilliam Street, the centre delivers a range of activities to support families and will launch their 'High Tea' sessions on Wednesday, January 8 using their newly refurbished kitchen.
Mrs Robinson, a trained youth worker and child care practitioner, said: "We’re thrilled with our refurbished functional light and airy kitchen. It really helps us to run our babies, children and youth groups successfully and to expand our offer to the wider community.
"On Wednesdays we have a High Tea funded by the Northamptonshire Community Foundation (NCF) which we have expanded to include all children.
"We choose a menu together, then the children cook the meal and then sit down to eat it together. We encourage a balanced diet and sitting down at the table.
"With support from NCS we can offer four free places but if you pre-pay for 20 sessions it works out at £1 per child per meal. Or you can pay £2.50 for an individual meal."
The high tea can cater for up to 20 children, accompanied by a carer, but only the young people get to eat the meals that they have made in the new facility formally opened by Mayor of Rushden, Cllr Cesare Marinaro.
With so many activities running throughout the week the kitchen at the RUSH 2The DEN had become worn out due to constant use and was no longer fit for purpose.
Rush2The DEN supporter, GrandUnion Housing Group had first backed Mrs Robinson's project in 2017 with a community grant for group activities from their Grants4YourCommunity scheme.
Karen Nicholson, Community Investment Manager at Grand Union, said: “We wanted to support RUSH 2The DEN because any improvements made would benefit their customers and ours.
“RUSH 2The DEN had already started work on the kitchen and had started fundraising for new appliances, but they were a long way short of a new kitchen.
“We discussed the project with BSG Property Services, our kitchen installers and Rixonway Kitchens, our kitchen suppliers, who both kindly agreed to help in any way they could to make sure the deserving project had a fantastic new kitchen. Both BSG and Rixonway donated their time and resources free of charge.
“Plans were drawn up for the new kitchen layout which included the appliances RUSH 2The DEN had bought with their fundraising efforts.
“Rixonway donated the units, sink and worktops and BSG provided the expertise to carry out the installation, plumbing, electrical and tiling work.
“Volunteers from across different departments in Grand Union helped to decorate the kitchen with the Community Investment team providing the finishing touches such as blinds, bins and other items.”
"We’re pleased that RUSH 2The DEN remains at the heart of the Rushden community.”
Open seven days a week, RUSH 2The DEN hosts regular 'Tots and Adults' session for babies and toddlers with messy, soft and sensory play as well as craft, play and skills sessions.
All the adult volunteers at the centre use a chosen name - Mrs Robinson, 48, is known as 'River' referencing her love of canoeing and that she 'goes with the flow'.
Using her experience as a Scout leader, she encourages youth club members to take part in special projects such as first aid training, fire safety, team games and hiking.
2020 will see a group tackle Wales' highest peak, Snowdon, and take in a marathon cycle ride during a week-long summer camp.
Weekly youth clubs, for ages five to 17 provide fun learning opportunities for young people including an independence group for young adults and 'Freedom' a group for people with special educational needs.
The building, a former church, was bought in July 2017 for the community projects that provides vital family support.
At weekends the hall can be hired out for children’s parties.