Maymessy magic

Round & About

young adults

Maymessy is the empowering West Challow cookery school which recently marked its first anniversary with a celebratory food festival, writes its founder Anna Richards.

We celebrated our first year in style, offering young carers and their families an afternoon of respite in our beautiful grounds.

It was super fun with circus skills, a rock choir, helter-skelter, bouncy castle, face painting and stalls. We ran our own Bake Off style competition, and were delighted to have it judged by BBC and Round & About magazine star Christine Wallace.

Maymessy opened its doors just over a year ago after transforming a disused cowshed into a state-of-the-art training kitchen. Adult cookery courses are run on demand and Maymessy works with schools, charities and youth groups to provide classes for young, vulnerable people. Children learn about teamwork, they strengthen their confidence and self-esteem while learning about healthy eating and wellbeing.

With more than 2,700 young carers in the county and the number rising, Maymessy saw the festival as a great opportunity to raise vital funds. Ten per cent of the proceeds were donated to Oxfordshire charity, Be Free Young Carers.

We were very grateful to receive grants from the Vale of White Horse District Council, Tesco in Faringdon and the Big Lottery, as well as refreshments from Waitrose in Faringdon. We’re now looking forward to the year ahead and continuing our work with empowering young people. We’d love to hear from local businesses who would be interested in supporting our enterprise and helping to bring our vision to fruition.

Visit or email [email protected]