The Rethink Food Academy educational hub opens inside former NEXT store in White Rose Shopping Centre

A new food and educational hub is opening up inside the former NEXT store in the White Rose Shopping Centre.

By Rebecca Marano
Thursday, 17th February 2022, 4:45 am

The Rethink Food Academy have taken over the unit, next to Sainsbury's and opposite River Island, after NEXT moved into a different unit in the centre.

The not-for-profit was founded by former primary school teacher, Kevin Mackay, and former headteacher, Nathan Atkinson, in 2015 after they wanted to tackle the problem of children arriving to one of their school’s hungry each day.

The mission of the company is to work towards food security for life and remove hunger as a barrier to learning.

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The Rethink Food Academy has opened inside the White Rose Shopping Centre.

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As part of the mission, the unit will now become a new immersive learning space that will provide a hub for schools, businesses and community group can access.

There will also be a weekly book club event and an exhibition to help people learn about food security .

Co-founder Kevin Mackay, from Morley, said: "We are delighted to announce the opening of The Rethink Food Academy at the White Rose Shopping Centre, Leeds.

The Rethink Food Academy will be a place for groups to work together towards food security.

"We have transformed a retail unit and created a new and innovative learning space that will support us in our delivery of high-quality food education in support of long-term food security.

"The Academy will help build independence, resilience and food security for children, their families, and the wider communities across the city and beyond.

"We are extremely grateful for the support, guidance and vision of the management and wider team at White Rose and the directors at Landsec. We are excited to work in partnership with them to showcase how spaces can be repurposed to add social value."

He added: "In working to equip the space with furniture, resources, and IT equipment we received support from IMA Home, who when relocating to their new space, allowed us to make use of surplus resources.

"This opportunity has supported our approach to sustainability and significantly enriched the aesthetics of the space."

The official opening will be help between 4pm and 6pm on Thursday, February 17.

Visitors can walk in but formal visits can also be arranged via email.

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