Homeless people with chaotic backgrounds can lack skills that would help them to live full, independent lives, such as basic cooking knowledge; and it makes a huge difference to their health and self-esteem to learn.
Single homeless residents at the Railway Road scheme in Leigh recently took part in a scrumptious ‘cook and taste’ course. The course ran for five weeks, and in total, ten residents took part.
Each week the group worked together to create one main dish and one dessert, covering a range of cuisines and cooking styles, from baking cupcakes to making curry and naan bread from scratch.
Alongside improving their cooking, the sessions had an impact on other areas of the residents’ lives, health and wellbeing. Most said that it improved their confidence, while some commented that they felt less anxiety and depression as a result of attending. They added that they had been able to improve their social skills and how well they looked after themselves.
The course became so popular and had such a positive impact that one resident said “it would have been better if it was longer.” Another added that it “Needs doing more often, so that everybody knows about it.” Overall it was a hit, and every single attendee said they would love to take part again, or take other types of training sessions in the future.
Another keen resident who attended all of the sessions earned himself a £10 voucher as part of the scheme’s `learn to earn’ programme – a nice bit of encouragement for those who really get stuck in!
Lessons were provided by the local NHS Bridgewater team, who focus on giving instruction in healthy eating and wellbeing. Course tutor Paula provided basic hygiene information, food hygiene facts and cooking skills. Lessons incorporated practical skills including reading receipts and weighing products.
Railway Road staff are looking forward to booking in some more sessions as soon as possible, and both they and the residents want to give a big thank you to the donors whose funding made it possible.
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