A Cooking Collaboration with Chelmsford College

Today, we are really proud to share that 14 of our members have received their Entry Level Certificate in Skills for Independent Living – Level 1.

For the last 14 weeks, every Wednesday afternoon, here at the Independence Project we have been heading over to Chelmsford College with 14 of our members to complete a Gateway Cooking Course.

Starting with the Basics

The cooking course was designed to be inclusive, offering tailored support to meet the needs of each participant. Some of the members had to start with the basics such as using a knife the right way round and have developed to learn kitchen hygiene, cleaning surfaces, hand washing, where foods should go in the fridge and which chopping boards to use depending on what they are chopping.

Learning and Personal Development

Tracy, one of our Director’s at the Independence Project said, “the guys have absolutely loved it, I think it has helped their confidence grow in the kitchen. The relaxed atmosphere throughout has helped them a lot. One member struggled to touch fruit and the thought of it made him cringe, even with this feeling he tried various fruits, and realised he did actually like them.”

There are so many individual stories of personal development. Sami’s cutting skills have really improved and his concentration has grown week after week. Brad received a ‘Best Chef’ certificate on week 12 and was so proud. George had a fear of heat that proved a real challenge in the kitchen and this course has really helped him to work through and overcome some of those worries. When George was asked if the course helped with his fear of heat? He replied “definitely, I will keep cooking now.”

Everyone has been encouraged to find their own cooking equipment and weigh out ingredients, which many of them were able to do without any support. Plus they have faced new tests and coped brilliantly, for example, touching raw chicken and understanding the safety rules that must be followed. They can all now make a cup of tea – which is something some of them had never done before. Plus, they have prepared and cooked great meals such as spaghetti bolognese and pasta salad, as well as muffins and fruit salads.

Independence and Confidence

These sessions have been about so much more than just cooking and have really enabled the members to develop independence, life skills and boost their confidence. Receiving accredited qualifications has boosted their CV’s and opened their eyes to what they can achieve when they put their mind to something and commit themselves. We are very proud of our members and what they have achieved!

Community and Partnership

A huge and special thanks to Chelmsford College! The staff have been truly amazing with all of our members and this course has gone a long way to show how local partnership work can bring so much good to the community. We are looking forward to collaborating and exploring courses with Chelmsford College in the future, to further develop opportunities for our young adults.

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