Zimbabwean run free cookery scheme proves hit with Amesbury children

Brett and Rufaro Mavunga have been running the programme since August at their cafe in the town.

The Zimbabwean couple, who used to be in the army, opened the Evergreen Cafe last September. 

Fast forward just over a year, and the couple are running free cookery classes for youngsters to help them learn valuable skills and stay out of trouble on the streets. 

After originally trying to launch it in June, Brett and Rufaro saw a big spike in sign ups this August with around 160 children taking part in the course, which is now 8 weeks in. 

Evergreen Cafe 1
The cooking classes are 8 weeks in

With the couple maxed out with students, some local people are now trying to help them, help others. 

Louise and Mark Walters, who are both in the military, have set up a fundraising page to try and get Brett high quality and robust equipment and ingredients for the classes.

They said


”When we found out Brett was funding the amazing community initiative of Free Children’s Cooking Classes completely out of his own pocket we had to help. 

As soldiers who are passionate about supporting veterans, and members of the Kings Gate and wider community we can already see the difference he makes and fundraising for this project is the least we can do.

The children make enough for 4 people and sadly, on more than one occasion that has been the main meal for that family that week.”

So far they have raised just over £150, with a total goal of £1000. 


Brett is a former Army Chef and has taken his expertise into his cafe in Archers Way, Amesbury. 

He said after seeing lots of young people getting themselves into trouble on the streets, he thought it was time he try and help using his own skills. 

For children aged 3-16, he tries to teach them the basics of cooking as well as budgeting, time appreciation, maths, disclipline, reading, teamwork, hygiene etc. 

Evergreen Cafe 1
Brett and his wife Rufaro opened the Evergreen Cafe last September

Brett told Spire FM

“I have seen some children doing some stupid stuff and it’s because they’ve got nothing to do. So I thought what can we do as a cafe, what can we do to make an impact on these children.”

After organising classes into age groups, Brett says that the children are really starting to thrive: 

“When we started some of them didn’t want to do anything at all but now they’re dragging their parents in! It’s amazing to see.”

After such high demand, the Evergreen Cafe are going to be running the classes again in January and some of them are already filling up.