The role of your church kitchen can change depending on the needs of your community, but how can you make sure your health and safety procedures keep up?
Making sure that you hold an annual review of the rules and regulations you have in place for your kitchen is a good start. It’s not only a brilliant way to make sure that H&S measures are up to date, but also a great opportunity to reflect on how your kitchen serves your church – and whether it might be time for an upgrade.
What’s changed? How has the role of your church kitchen changed over the last year? There are different rules to follow depending on how your space is being used, so it’s important to periodically take a step back and assess.
If, for instance, your kitchen has moved up from being a tea and coffee facility for your committee, to regularly providing food and drinks for larger events or a community café, you should check that your health and safety procedures have evolved to match.
Who’s in charge? A busy church committee often shares the load when it comes to managing different aspects of church life – but making sure that someone specific is always in control of the kitchen is vital. From scheduling kitchen bookings to making sure those all-important H&S procedures are being met, having a designated kitchen manager can really making running your kitchen a much simpler process.
Are your current rules working? Even if nothing in particular has changed over the last 12 months, it’s a good idea to take stock and address whether the procedures you currently have in place are working as well as they could.
If, for instance, you hire your kitchen to external parties, is it definitely being looking after properly – or is it having a negative impact on your kitchen space? Some Churches, like Canterbury Baptist Church, decided to introduce a rule that anyone using the kitchen needed to have a Food Safety Level 2 certificate. In doing so, they could rest assured that people hiring the kitchen would have a reasonable understanding of how to keep it safe and clean.
If you feel that there’s room for improvement, sit down with your committee and get everyone to share their thoughts or raise any concerns. The earlier they are addressed, the easier it is to avoid problems in the future.
Does the kitchen still conform to standards? Keeping a church kitchen fit for purpose can be difficult – especially if it is regularly used by local groups or hired out for parties. A domestic model can fall into disrepair fairly quickly, with material like MDF becoming a trap for damp and bacteria, so it’s important to address maintenance issues promptly and keep a note of repairs.
A semi-commercial kitchen will usually need less annual upkeep, with steel framework and powder coated steel doors providing a more long lasting solution for a kitchen that receives a lot of wear and tear.
An annual PAT test of electrical equipment isn’t required by law, but keeping your electrical goods safe to use is. Take a good look at your kitchen appliances and gadgets and if they have seen better days, it might be worth getting them PAT tested by a professional.
Alternatively, you might want to look into replacing them as part of renovations. This link provides a helpful overview of electrical safety in your church kitchen.
For more tips on rules and regulations for your church kitchen, take a look at our related articles below.
At Steelplan Kitchens, we specialise in providing semi-commercial kitchens that will support your church for years to come. To find out about our free consultation service for churches, call us on 0844 809 9186.