Kitchen fund forced to close doors after crisis

MP Andy Burnham officially opened the Leigh Caring Kitchen, which has now been forced to close
MP Andy Burnham officially opened the Leigh Caring Kitchen, which has now been forced to close

A local charity which provided meals for homeless people has been forced to shut its doors for health and safety reasons.

Trustees of Leigh Caring Kitchen are now desperately appealing for public help to put a rescue plan in place to save the organisation.

The volunteers have worked very hard over the past few months to feed the hungry in Leigh and we would like to thank them all.

Lisa Darlington

The shock developments represent a spectacular fall from grace for the charity, which only moved into its larger premises at the former King Street Methodist School in May.

Trustees have confirmed the kitchen was forced to close its doors due to health and safety issues and other operational difficulties but quashed circling rumours about its finances by saying it has not been dissolved or wound up and the charity still has all its assets.

Lisa Darlington, one of Leigh Caring Kitchen’s four trustees, said: “The volunteers have worked very hard over the past few months to feed the hungry in Leigh and we would like to thank them all.

“The Charity Commission was advised by the trustees that in the absence of finding additional trustees or volunteers an application for a winding-up order would have to be made.

“The commission was also notified that following a show of public support that a rescue plan was now trying to be put together and we will update them within 14 days.

“We now therefore would like to make an appeal to the Leigh public for anyone with relevant areas of expertise, time and commitment to come forward if they could be a trustee, volunteer or consultant.

“We have also asked other local charities, our sponsors and our community knowledge officer to help with this appeal.”

The charity’s bosses met with the volunteers on Sunday to explain the situation and say the majority of them backed the rescue plan and will continue to work to re-open the doors as soon as possible.

The move to the King Street venue earlier this year enabled the kitchen to open seven nights a week providing hot food to those without a roof over their heads and also run a charity shop for people to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables on a donation basis.

Ms Darlington says the charity particularly needs people with experience of kitchen management, health and safety procedures and stock control for the donated food as well as people who will help train more volunteers.

She and the other trustees hope to schedule another meeting next week to appoint new trustees and volunteers and potentially set a re-opening date for the kitchen if there is enough manpower.

Anyone interested in helping Leigh Caring Kitchen should email leighcaringkitchen@gmail.com