Young people in Ilford get healthy snacks at Frenford Clubs thanks to Young Citizen nominee

Young people in Ilford are having healthy snacks rather than relying on vending machines and chicken shops thanks to one of our final Young Citizen nominees of the year.

Sadia Kayani, 20, of Langham Drive, Goodmayes, came up with the idea to start a canteen at a popular youth club, put in her own money and now volunteers two nights a week managing it.

She is now in the running to be the December winner of the Exchange Ilford-sponsored Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award.

She said: “There were only vending machines and a chicken shop around the corner. There were no healthy options for young people, so I set something up so they could have some warm food.

“It could generate some money and provide a healthy option.”

Sadia has been volunteering for the Frenford centre, based at the Jack Carter Centre, The Drive, Ilford, for five years and works there two days a week as a receptionist.

But she decided to take on an extra two nights a week, volunteering to cook the canteen’s food along, with her mum Tasleem Haque and a cousin.

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Between them, they rustle up a range of salads, sandwiches, paninis and smoothies, with between 50 and 70 staff and young people visiting from 6-9pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Sadia has a food safety and catering qualification and would like to own a restaurant one day.

The centre already had a kitchen but she invested �400 of her own savings to get the canteen up and running.

She said: “For Frenford it’s worth it.

“It’s just like a home, it helps people to come a long way.”

She set out a seating area in a viewing gallery above the sports hall and said the venture is now self-financing, with profits able to go back into Frenford.

Manager Irfan Shah said: “It gives a personal touch to keep young people coming back and spending more time here.”

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