12th July 2019

Life Kitchen cookery school officially opens

We and our supply chain partners played a major role in supporting the Life Kitchen project by carefully restoring the Grade II listed Victorian lodge near Sunderland which houses the school, donating labour, expertise and materials, free of charge.

Following months of hard work and fundraising efforts to get the project off the ground, the official opening of Life Kitchen in Sunderland earlier this summer brings us great joy.

The launch of the new cookery school was a dream come true for founder Ryan Riley as he welcomed guests including celebrity chef Nigella Lawson to the opening ceremony.

Food writer Ryan was inspired to set up Life Kitchen after losing his mother Krista to cancer five years ago, aged just 47. Having watched his mum struggle to find anything she wanted to eat during chemotherapy, Ryan wanted to help others living with the illness rediscover their appetites by offering free cookery classes to them and their carers.

The new school is housed within a Grade II listed Victorian Gate lodge, which we helped to convert. It’s been a privilege for Sir Robert McAlpine to be associated with this project. Together with our supply chain, we have carefully restored the Grade II listed building. We were able to make a difference to this worthwhile cause by donating labour, expertise and materials free of charge. 

With thanks to all the team involved including Ryder Architecture, Jasper Kerr Consulting, Desco, One environments, Lichfields, SAJ transport consultants and Turner and Townsend.

Sir Robert McAlpine Project Manager, Jonathan Guest commented:  

“We were approached by Turner Townsend and following an initial visit to the property we set about making initial enquiries to our supply chain.  I developed the details, identified the scope of works, determining the labour requirements to expand our involvement wider.”

 “As a thank you from the client, they allowed me to plant a weeping willow tree as a tribute to my own mother who sadly passed away from cancer when I was at university. The weeping willow symbolises life, balance, strength, stability, growth and harmony which is perfectly in line the Life Kitchen ethos.”

We are humbled by Sir Robert McAlpine’s incredible work on our cookery school and are honoured to have the space to help many more people and the local community. The build was finished to the absolute highest standard and has left us with a wonderful, accessible place that is an asset to the people of Sunderland. We thank the whole Sir Robert McAlpine team for their generosity and outstanding attention to detail.

Ryan Riley

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