Third-year 3D Design student wins award for design tackling “holiday hunger” in Plymouth

Third-year 3D Design* student, Sarah Boot, recently won a Royal Society of Arts (RSA) award for her Unmissable Food Organisation project (U.F.O.), 

which aims to provide children living in poverty food and education about nutrition through community food trailers.

Holiday Hunger

Her inspiration came from a food workshop, run by University lecturer Clare Pettinger, which looked at the holiday hunger problems in Plymouth.

“I was shocked to find out just how big a problem it is in Plymouth and across the UK and decided that I wanted my project to focus on those issues.”

Currently, “holiday hunger” affects over 500,000 children across the UK and over 30% of children are living below the poverty line. Food banks across the UK, including in Plymouth, have seen a sharp rise in the numbers of people visiting them, both adults and children, over the last few years. (Guardian, 2019)

<p>UFO on grey</p>
<p>Unmissable Food Organisation logo</p>
<p>UFO in use</p>

The Unmissable Food Organisation

The U.F.O. works by providing meals to children who are at risk of malnutrition through the holidays. It teaches them how to cook easy, cheap and varied meals which they can then cook at home and teach their families to make as well. The idea is for the U.F.O.s to be funded by local food businesses who help with the upkeep and running of the fleet, in exchange for access to trailers for their own businesses.

The U.F.O.s themselves, as the name suggests, roughly resembles an alien spaceship. 

It consists of a stainless-steel grill in the middle, which is surrounded by individual tables and chairs for the children to use as preparation stations. 

A spinning service ring between the tables and grill means ingredients can easily be passed around the whole group, and there are even hidden sinks so the children can wash up afterwards.


During the third year of the 3D Design degree, students are taught how to create proposals aimed at design competitions – Sarah’s U.F.O. project was the one she created for the course and won the ‘Legal and General Award £250’ in the ‘Cultivating Communities’ category.

“Throughout the project I had help from my tutors, technicians and peers to get important advice on both the systems required and the technical elements. That’s what’s great about the course – there are many people to talk to and bounce ideas off to really get an outcome you are happy with.”

While the project was created before England went into lockdown, the interview had to be held over Zoom due to social distancing.

“The interview for the competition was an interesting new obstacle, as my model was at the University and I couldn’t meet face-to-face with my tutors for help. They did, however, give me a lot of support via Zoom calls, which really helped for the Zoom interview that I did later on.”

The future for the U.F.O.

Since winning the award in the competition, Sarah has been in touch with Jabo Butera, CEO of Diversity Business Incubator, to discuss the possibility of working together to build the trailer.

“It is exciting to think of a project going from concept to reality.”

Sarah and Jabo Butera, CEO of Diversity Business Incubator