She says: “The RSA awards are something that I have dreamt of. I’m a single mum with three kids and my baby is only 18-months, so it has been quite a challenge going back to university. My career has been put on hold for so many years, so to achieve this within such a short time of re-entering university, it has just been so incredible. I just didn’t think I could do something like this. Lockdown happened when I was preparing for my interview presentation for the award, so I had no childcare. I was literally working until three or four in the morning while the kids were sleeping. But I was determined because I want to do what’s best for me and my children.”
The Cultivating Community award asked students to reimagine common spaces to build diverse communities through food. Other winners included Megana Mikuciauskaite and collaborators Atlana Puntigam, Alec Strobel and Bryan Branco from University of the Arts London, for their Co-Food Initiative that aims to help prison inmates rebuild relationships through cooking and gardening. And Sarah Boot from the University of Plymouth was also among the winners for her Unmissable Food Organisation, consisting of a fleet of food trailers to tackle ‘holiday hunger’ among children.
Almas’s Transform concept sets out to tackle issues including a lack of access to nutritious food, intergenerational bonding, loneliness and isolation. Local organisations including Northampton Borough Council acted as her ‘clients’ as she developed her vision of a rejuvenated armoury building that includes a kitchen with food-related initiatives for different income levels. Almas envisages community activities like The Big Lunch that would see deprived families enjoy healthy meals. Her design includes an allotment where the community could come together to enjoy gardening, with some of the produce used in the kitchen. As well as healthy food and the opportunity to socialise, her design also features a sensory garden to improve wellbeing.