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Installing a community centre kitchen – five common questions

Installing or upgrading a kitchen for your church or community centre often seems like a huge job. If you’ve never done something like it, you’ve probably got far more questions than answers, and you might not even know where to start.

Though it is a major change with a big impact, it doesn’t have to be a daunting project. Here are some of the questions that we get asked the most, which might help you plan and visualise your new kitchen.

Did you know: a great place to start is Steelplan’s free design and consultation service? Having designed hundreds of kitchens for village halls and church halls, we’re intimately familiar with just about any project question you may have. Not only can we answer these in one consultation, but we can also provide 3D mockups of your new kitchen space, so you can see exactly how it will look.

1. Do community centre kitchens need childproof locks?

If children are going to be using (or allowed into) the kitchen, then child locks are probably a good idea, at least for the storage of sharps or cleaning materials.

The question of child safety is broader than just locks and cupboards. You also need to think about the materials of the whole kitchen. Especially as time passes, certain materials pose a risk to everyone’s health and safety, especially children.

For example, vinyl wraps tend to peel as they age, and they present a tempting material for a child to pick at. Fragments of that could be swallowable or could find their way into food, and the deterioration could simply expose material that can absorb spillages and food particles.

Consider materials and surfaces that will withstand heavy use (and perhaps abuse). At Steelplan Kitchens we recommend Zintec powder-coated mild steel, for instance.

2. Do you need a large kitchen for a community centre?

Whether you need a large kitchen depends a lot on the scale of your operation. If you are planning to produce a lot of food and you will have a lot of people in the kitchen at one time, then you probably do need a lot of space. However, for most community centre kitchens, size probably isn’t the critical factor.

Specification and equipment are the crucial elements, and you can get those in a surprisingly compact area. If you’re working with a limited footprint, there’s almost certainly an efficient design solution – which Steelplan can help you to find.

Just beware of choosing a commercial or a domestic-style kitchen for that solution, because neither is suitable, as you’ll see below.

3. What’s the difference between a domestic kitchen and a commercial kitchen?

The sort of kitchen you would find in a home will often be made of a less durable material like MDF. That kind of surface is perfectly fine for a domestic setting, because it gets far lighter use than a community kitchen or a commercial one. However, that kind of design won’t work for setting with heavier operations, because the materials are less durable and harder to clean thoroughly.

A commercial kitchen, such as one you’d find in a cafe or a restaurant, will be made of stainless steel and be designed with pure function and efficiency in mind. For a community centre, that kind of design will be excessive, and won’t feel welcoming or accessible.

Your community centre would get the best use from a semi-commercial kitchen. That kind of installation is durable and easy to clean, but without being prohibitively expensive or appearing intimidating.

It’ll most likely be built with mild steel, with a powder-coated finish, and have a homely and welcoming appearance despite being more ‘heavy duty’ than a domestic kitchen.

4. Do I need to design the kitchen myself?

You certainly don’t need to be a designer, nor do you need to have all the answers. Some people find planning and visualising a space easier than others, so don’t let it be a worry if you’re not confident about it.

Your designer or installer will be able to create the design based on how you use the space and what you need in it. In fact, we create 3D mockups so that you can properly visualise the kitchen and see what it will look like before we even start work on the installation.

If you need some inspiration, here are three very different kitchen designs from three very different spaces.

5. Will I have to be familiar with kitchen food hygiene regulations?

Food hygiene is the most important aspect of running a regularly-used community kitchen, and fortunately, the guidance for doing so is less complicated than you think. Your local authority may even have an essential guide like this one for churches and community centres.

You should never have to worry about it at the design stage, however. With Steelplan Kitchens, regardless of what your kitchen is used for (or how regularly) you can be assured that it will always be designed and installed with health and safety regulations in mind – with durable, easy-to-clean materials.

It’s just one less thing to worry about when managing a new kitchen installation project.

Still have questions about the specification, equipment, or design that your community centre kitchen needs? Our friendly team are on hand to discuss any queries. Give them a ring on 0844 809 9186 or email [email protected].

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