BBC journalist and newsreader Emily Maitlis cooked up a storm together with teenagers from across the community with the youth volunteering charity Project ImpACT.

Maitlis led Sunday’s virtual cookathon via Zoom, teaching the young chefs how to make one of her favourite vegetarian recipes of chickpea stew, for distribution to food banks across London.

Since the start of the pandemic, Project ImpACT volunteers have been participating in weekly virtual cooking sessions. The teens have learned new skills in the kitchen and delivered healthy, home-cooked meals to food banks and other charities. They have also been volunteering virtually for care homes, supporting disabled residents, actively collecting items for food banks, writing letters and sending care packages. Over the past year they have clocked up a massive 3,000 hours of volunteering supporting 25 different charities during lockdown.

‘It was great to be joined by Emily who is so knowledgeable in the kitchen. The teens picked up some new skills and it was a wonderful way to finish our virtual cooking sessions this year that has supported so many people’ ~ Orit, Project ImpACT Events and Programme Coordinator.

Maitlis also thanked the ImpACT Ambassadors from Year 12 and 13 for their incredible hard work this year. ‘Project Impact has left me hugely impressed. Young people are learning how to cook to provide food banks with extra meals during the pandemic and beyond. The ambassadors for this project have given their time and their enthusiasm to this project to understand the pressure food poverty causes in this country – and to take actual steps to learn how they can help. Their dedication – over fifteen long months – has been hugely impressive. And their ability to lead and encourage their peers has been amazing to see’ ~ Emily Maitlis.

Project Impact volunteer, Eden, 14, said: “It was a delicious yet easy to follow recipe and it was wonderful to have the chance to make this stew to help others who are less fortunate.”

Chayli Fehler, the charity’s founder and director, said: “‘I am incredibly proud of all the ImpACT teens who are determined to use their time to volunteer in different ways and support the local community.

“Through our programme, they have realised that even at their age, they can get involved and make a difference in the community and beyond. Volunteering should be a part of every teenager’s journey into adulthood.”

Project ImpACT inspires and engages teens to volunteer and make an ImpACT through social action. The volunteering sessions empower and challenge young people and encourage the next generation to grow into community-focused leaders. The programme offers impactful volunteering opportunities and is a registered DofE provider. For more volunteering opportunities visit