Published date: 25 February 2022

Transforming kitchen space at Axminster Hospital for Project FOOD

Axminster Community Hospital, Devon, South West


In line with NHS Property Services’ strategy to help the NHS get the most from its estate, we redeveloped space at Axminster Hospital to provide quality wards for patients, allowing the hospital to be better utilised with less surplus space. However, there was still a void kitchen within the hospital building.


Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the occupier of Axminster Hospital, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust, were consulted and supportive of the initiative to refurbish the kitchen for use by local charity Project FOOD.  

Project FOOD offers a programme of food education courses for young families and vulnerable people across Devon. Their mission is to enable people to improve their diet so they can enjoy better physical and mental health. They aim to inspire young people to understand the links between a sustainable diet and good health, support people affected by nutrition-related conditions, and help elderly and isolated people to develop skills they need for a healthier diet. 

We brought the void kitchen space back to life, ensuring it would be safe and fit for purpose for the charity. Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust and Devon CCG helped to fund the project, donating cooking equipment for the kitchen and contributing towards running costs. 


By using the kitchen, Project FOOD have been able to better support clients with re-enablement services and confidence in food preparation. These client’s range across age groups, and include people who may have had a stroke, or live with dementia or mental health conditions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Project FOOD extended its functions to include meals on wheels and cookery classes via video call. 

Most recently, Project FOOD held a cooking class with River Cottage Executive Head Chef Gelf Alderson. River Cottage is owned by TV Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. 

Rhea Horlock, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at NHS Property Services said:

“Project FOOD is a brilliant example of a charity using our social prescribing spaces to deliver high quality local services. Poor diet is a key contributor to ongoing health concerns, and we’re delighted to have been able to support the charity in addressing this important issue.”