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Jamie Oliver cookery training at Guildford housing centre supports former homeless

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Jamie Oliver cookery training at Guildford housing centre supports former homeless

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Published by Susan Littlemore for Riverside in Communities and also in Care and Support, Education, Health, Housing

Jamie Oliver cookery sessions at Riverside ECHG's Vaughan House Jamie Oliver cookery sessions at Riverside ECHG's Vaughan House

Six former homeless clients have recently completed a six-week culinary master class at Riverside ECHG’s Vaughan House delivered in partnership with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and Guildford Borough Council.

The programme is part of Guildford Borough Council’s approach to homeless prevention called the ETHOS (Employment, Training and Housing Options Service) Project, which is managed by the Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership.

The initiative aims to help Riverside’s former homeless residents prepare healthy meals on a budget ahead to develop their life skills ahead of moving into independent living.

The course is being delivered by two Head Chefs, Mike and Mattie, along with the assistance of Office Manager Jo, from Jamie’s Italian in Guildford.

Riverside clients have been learning basic food preparation skills and cooking up some delicious specialities including curries, chocolate brownies and fruit pastry pizzas.

Client Ben had suffered from addiction and mental health problems and had been homeless for 12 years. He is now clean from drugs and attending meetings with health and wellbeing specialists and has maintained his tenancy with Riverside. He said: “The Jamie cookery classes have given me the confidence to look after myself and have helped me to budget properly when buying food.”

Louise, also a Riverside client, finished university before finding herself homeless. Due to her anxiety, Louise has been working with mental health teams and has been referred for counselling sessions. Louise said: “The Jamie course has opened my eyes to different ways I can cook. I have really enjoyed the classes.”

Riverside Area Manager, Ketan Patel said: “We are encouraging our clients to get involved with culinary training to enhance their life skills ahead of moving on from supported housing to independent living. As well as being a valuable training opportunity, the course has helped to build our clients’ confidence and positive outlook.

"The first six-week session has been a resounding success and wish to extend our thanks to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation for working with Riverside on this venture.”

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