CHILDREN at the Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground (BLAP) can now cook healthily and safely thanks to new equipment.
The kitchen at the after-school club on the corner of Blackbird Leys Road and Cuddesdon Way was outdated and unsafe, said BLAP’s secretary Sue Price.
“We had to defrost the freezer every week because it was broken. It made having ice packs for the first aid kit a nightmare,” she said.
“The oven was absolutely useless. It burned the top off all of the children’s birthday cakes and left the bottoms uncooked.
“The hob was really old-fashioned so it would stay hot for ages after you turned it off.”
The kitchen also lacked a dishwasher. Mrs Price added: “It was a pain when we do so much cooking for so many children, so it really is necessary.
“It also meant we wouldn’t let any of the children do any of the washing up because we didn’t want them to hurt themselves and they like to get involved.”
Now the kitchen has a new oven and electric hob, fridge-freezer and dishwasher, as well as new cupboard doors.
Mrs Price, 67, said: “It’s just great. It’s much safer and better now. The hob goes cold as soon as you take the pan off it without you worrying about it.
“It means we can get the kids involved more. We can let them use the hob and load the dishwasher.”
Money from Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council and Blackbird Leys Parish Council was used to pay for the refurbishment.
Mrs Price said: “I just went round them all asking for contributions and we got it together in the end although the fridge came from my garage.”
The children who attend the group’s after- school clubs cook every day, making snacks and meals.
Mrs Price, who lives in Blackbird Leys, said: “They love their cooking, both the girls and boys.
“We do try and get them to be interested in healthy foods as well as cakes, but we have mixed results.
“Cauliflower cheese did not do well as so many of them refused to try it, but wholemeal pizzas went down a treat.”
Nine-year-old James Lee, of Woodpecker Green, goes to BLAP most days, and loves the new kitchen. He said: “It’s great. It means we can make more birthday cakes without them getting ruined. It’s much nicer now.”
Megan Davies, also nine, added: “I like cooking because you get to eat yummy things and it’s better in the new kitchen.”
The parish council’s contribution paid for the new cupboard doors.
Council chairman Gordon Roper said: “These people have worked hard to get BLAP back up and running, and it’s something we want to support for the kids on the estate. We were happy to donate.”