West Wight Sports & Community Centre are celebrating the first year of their successful COOK Project. COOK is ‘Creating Opportunities in Our Kitchen’ and since it started last year 18 people have been supported through the project as well as a further 20 through the healthy eating and cookery programme.
The Project provides training and volunteering opportunities for people with learning and/or physical difficulties, people returning to work or going through a period of poor mental health, as well as young people. 18 people have joined the project since it began with the support of Wight Aid funding at the beginning of 2017 and then further funding from the Peoples Project later in the year.
The team are also celebrating earning a 5 star food hygiene rating for the café at the Centre – an achievement which is a credit to the team of staff and project participants who are led by Michele Newton.
Michele said, “I am immensely proud of the team. The café and COOK Project is such a happy and positive environment to work in. Achieving a 5 star food hygiene rating reinforces the good work that our team are doing.”
COOK Project participants are given training and support in the café at West Wight Sports & Community Centre. They volunteer in a variety of roles according to their abilities and aspirations. Nineteen year old Kye Watson attends once a week and is learning to cook. His signature dish is cheese scones which he makes under the watchful eye of Michele and they are sold in the café.
Kye’s Mum, Kerry said “Not only is Kye learning practical skills such as kitchen hygiene, basic cooking skills and safety around the kitchen, but it is also helping him with his self-care. He is very aware of and takes care of his appearance on work days, makes sure his uniform is clean and ironed and knows he has to keep his nails clean and short.”
25 year old Katie Healey was one of the first to join the project. Katie has grown in confidence and has now moved into paid employment at the Centre.
Michele said, “Katie is such an asset to our team. She has grown in confidence since joining us and her success is measured by the opportunity for her to move into a paid role at the Centre”
The COOK Project has provided the impetus to transform the catering at West Wight Sports & Community Centre and 2018 has seen the charity owned Centre invest in the refurbishment of the café with fresh paint, new chairs, carpets and tables. The menu which includes a range of healthy take away foods made in house – including pasta and cous-cous salads and sandwiches- has been refreshed with a range of meals that are nutritious and tasty. In addition a new children’s birthday party menu has been launched – also with healthy options. Combined with the variety of activities on offer now at the Centre, including climbing skateboarding, swimming, soft play and more, you can be assured of not only an exciting and unique birthday party experience but that you will be supporting a great community venture at the same time.