Park Life Heavitree is a community group that brings people together in and around Exeter’s Heavitree Pleasure Ground. In September 2023, through a partnership with Exeter Food Action, a local allotment and Refugee Support Devon, Park Life began offering a space where asylum seekers can cook culturally sensitive food with fresh ingredients, which they can take back to their families at the hotel where they’re housed, which prohibits them from cooking on site. Food provided to the hotel by a contractor has been described by local councillors as ‘unappetising’ and ‘lacking variety’.
The project, which runs every 2 weeks, is supported by local volunteers and Park Life staff. Sessions have been very popular, with a lot of positive feedback on how much people enjoy attending. Volunteers support the set up and running of the afternoons, as well as a small area for pre-school children who attend with their parents.