‘Cooking up’ community at Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre

Our Kitchen Social Enterprise is helping people to develop work skills and build positive connections with the local community.

In April 2017, Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre established Our Kitchen Social Enterprise, a catering social enterprise that services local community members, organisations, and businesses.

The multicultural menu uses fresh produce from Our Kitchen Garden and rescued food from SecondBite. There is also a focus on using low sugar and fat recipes.

Our Kitchen connects participants with relevant training and support and puts their learning journey at the heart of their community.

Following a major life change, Noreen decided to participate in Our Kitchen. 

‘I had not worked for a long time. My husband passed away two years ago and after his passing I had to work for my family,’ Noreen said. 

‘So, I came here (Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre) to start doing cooking courses, which I really liked.’ 

Funded by the Victorian Government through the Adult Community and Further Education (ACFE) Board, Noreen undertook a Cooking up Jobs course and courses in commercial cooking, baking.

Since completing her training, Noreen has gained employment in the hospitality industry. 

Our Kitchen is not just about developing work skills, it’s also about connecting participants to their community. 

‘We also have community lunches here—I love talking to people, helping them, greeting and meeting people—it is just so amazing,’ Noreen said. 

Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre celebrates Our Kitchen Social Enterprise

Left to right: Michaela Settle MP, Noreen Van Den Hoek, Juliana Addison MP, and Vicki Coltma at Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre. 

Find out more

This year, Education Week celebrates the theme ‘Building Connections’. 

It is an opportunity for all primary and secondary schools, higher education, and early childhood services to showcase how they are building connections with the community around them. Education Week will run from 23-29 May.