The Oasis Aquila Foyer in Croydon provides accommodation and training for young people who have become homeless. The Foyer offers the young people support which aims to help them set themselves up for life and move on into independent living. Thanks to a £750 grant from the Jack Petchey Foundation, the Foyer was able to fund the delivery of weekly cooking sessions by volunteer Michael for their service users.
The grant was awarded as part of the Jack PetcheyFoundation’s Leader Award scheme, which recognises the hard work and acheivements of adult Leaders in youth organisations. Michael was nominated for his Leader Award for playing a big part in the delivery of the organisation’s Healthy Conversations programme, teaching the young people through practical cooking sessions. Michael has even inspired some of the young people to pursue cooking as a career. His colleagues describe him as “friendly and warm, and is someone that you always want to be around.” Along with a certificate, Michael was presented with £750 to spend on something that would benefit the organisation. Naturally, Michael and the young people he worked with decided it would best be used to allow the popular cooking sessions to continue.
Thanks to the grant and Michael volunteering his time and skills, the young people have been learning how to cook healthy and balanced meals on a budget, whilst having fun and getting a free meal. The sessions have been extremely popular and the young people hope they continue. One of Michael’s colleagues Jessica commented, “Michael has built strong and positive relationships with the young people, as well as teaching them how to cook, and giving them health and nutritional advice. The sessions have really brought the young people together and helped create a sense of community amongst our service users. “
One of the young residents praises the cooking sessions saying, “It helps in a way, when you go out into the big bad world, these cooking sessions have taught me how to do shopping and cook different recipes, and it’s been really beneficial. I have been given the opportunity to practice cooking before living independently. It has also been fun to socialise with other residents and be a part of teaching and inspiring others in their cooking. Michael has been amazing and really knows what he is doing.”