1641. Anna Richards
Anna Richards, from Oxfordshire, created social enterprise ‘Maymessy’, running wellness activities and cookery classes for hundreds of young carers and young people from marginalised backgrounds to help them build self-esteem, develop new skills and improve their wellbeing.
Anna, who is a qualified teacher and nutritionist, set up the social enterprise in 2017 after moving from London to the South Oxfordshire countryside, where she converted a country barn into a purpose-built cookery school as a space to hold workshops. Naming the initiative ‘Maymessy’ to help capture a sense of the joy of being outside in the spring and making mess in a kitchen, it provides a safe and comfortable place for people to learn key skills in a fun way, and also offers ad hoc work experience, volunteering and mentorship to the young people who attend. Throughout the pandemic, Anna has run virtual sessions in place of physical workshops, as well as making weekly food deliveries for care staff.
In a personal letter to Anna, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I was inspired to hear about ‘Maymessy’ and the ‘messy’ cookery workshops you run to help people learn vital life skills and gain confidence.
“With your virtual classes, you have helped hundreds of families learn to cook nutritious and budget-friendly meals, while also whipping up delicious food packages for local healthcare workers.”
David Johnston, Anna’s local MP for Wantage, said:
“Delighted for Anna at Maymessy in West Challow, who has received today’s Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister. She does great work and this is very well-received.”
“Thank you to the Prime Minister and our MP David Johnston for this award. I am over the moon to receive a Points of Light Award and I have throughly enjoyed setting up ‘Maymessy’ and empowering marginalised groups through cooking classes and wellbeing activities. The support we have had from the local community, businesses and individuals has been fantastic. Recently we have been working hard to support local families struggling financially after the pandemic with cookery classes and would like to thank all involved.”