To help with community integration and providing a taste of home, the charity runs a Cultural Kitchen at Sherwell Church Hall twice a month.
Everyone is welcome, and students and service users prepare, serve and eat food together – with dishes from countries all over the world.
Olivia Collins, a medical student currently intercalating on the University’s MSc Global and Remote Healthcare, recently undertook a placement with START. She said:
“The Cultural Kitchen is fantastic, dozens of people come along every fortnight and chat, play games, share stories and prepare food. I’d like to be a GP and I’m really interested in people. I’m also interested in the social determinants of health, as well as the importance of community and occupation for people’s wellbeing. This placement has been invaluable.”
Both Olivia and Avril will be sharing their experiences at the University of Plymouth International Women’s Day Global Health conference on 8 March. The event is open to the public and free of charge – visit the conference page for more details.
“On one hand I can’t believe that a small idea has turned into a really successful charity that is still going 17 years later, but on the other hand it’s such a simple idea that is mutually beneficial and could be used with other groups too. Refugees are only a burden if you make them one, and having this support in place has helped hundreds of people transform their lives – students and refugees alike.”