Sheffield-based Blend Kitchen sees demand soar after establishing wedding and events venue

A social enterprise which provides employment opportunities for people seeking asylum is booming as demand soars for venues providing weddings.

Blend Kitchen, a Sheffield based not for profit social enterprise has grown from humble beginnings, running training courses, pop up cafes and street food events in community centres and pub beer gardens, to operate a 60 cover restaurant and events space,

The enterprise has just celebrated its first year in its purpose built, £350,000 home on the city's "foodie strip", Ecclesall Road.

A spokesman said: "Blend Kitchen provides life changing training and employment opportunities to vulnerable and marginalised people facing barriers to work. This includes individuals affected by mental health and neurodiverse conditions, physical disabilities, homelessness, substance misuse, young people not in education, parents returning to work after raising children and those seeking asylum."

"Against the ongoing impact of the pandemic and with ever growing cost of living crisis, like most hospitality businesses Blend Kitchen should be nervous. Yet founder Chris Hanson has seen a unique opportunity due to the huge demand for private event spaces created by the pandemic." Picture: Ellie Grace Photography

Read More

Read More
Slow casino recovery sees Mecca bingo owner Rank slash earnings outlook

"Against the ongoing impact of the pandemic and with ever growing cost of living crisis, like most hospitality businesses Blend Kitchen should be nervous. Yet founder Chris Hanson has seen a unique opportunity due to the huge demand for private event spaces created by the pandemic.

He said “The backlog of weddings and events plus the ones already planned for this year means there are just not enough quality venues in the city or outside caterers. While the cost of living crisis means people cutting back on dining out, pre-planned special occasion events remain resilient."

As well as weddings and celebrations, the social enterprise is also launching a programme of ticketed events from this month.

Mr Hanson added: “As we grow more popular as a daytime dining spot, extending our weekday hours means we can offer more training placements to those in most need of our support as well as having more available free hire opportunities for local community groups.

"Blend Kitchen was designed to provide accessible spaces to our customers and the local community. These changes really embrace our ethos and means we can respond to the changing economy and habits of our customers, while continuing to create the unique training and employment opportunities at the core of our mission.

"I’m particularly excited about expanding our work with Sheffield College to provide practical work experience and training for catering students with special educational needs throughout this summer."