The Rendezvous offers a life-line to young people (13-25) in need of help. We are well-known in the community for providing high quality one to one services for vulnerable young people in the Sherborne area (advice, information, English and Maths qualifications and now counselling). We also deliver outreach sessions in Gillingham and run a Friday drop in session for young people that is popular and attracts some of the most hard to reach young people in the area.
Funding raised through Crowdfunder means that “Cook Talk Feast” sessions can become a regular part of our weekly Friday drop in sessions instead of the occasional ad hoc event. They will provide valuable skills and opportunities for managed socialising for our target group of young people who find it difficult to collaborate and share.
“Cook Talk Feast” is of course about more than just cooking and eating. It will keep the young people who drop in to see us engaged whilst increasing real life skills and provide opportunities to deliver advice and guidance in an informal and positive environment. Adding another session leader will allows other qualified team members to focus on much needed individual support.
During a pilot cooking session we saw an obvious and immediate positive change in behaviour during the session; young people accepted and stuck to rules delivered in a non-authoritarian way - no playing with knives being the first! – and informal discussions around behaviour led to conversations about emotions and strategies to cope with intense anger and frustration. The feedback from the young people on the day was positive and they continue to ask “when can we cook again?”
“That was pretty good but I think the pasta was a bit over-cooked – maybe you’re right, I should have stayed and watched it” - pilot project participant showing increased awareness of consequences
Working with challenging young people is a skill and takes a special sort of person to do it. Most importantly those people need to like young people, to be strong and resilient, able to manage backchat and keep calm, to be non judgemental but ever-vigilant (particularly in the kitchen!), to have a sense of humour and to give praise when praise is due, recognising that often baby steps are what's needed. And of course lastly, the young people have to like and respect the worker for the relationship to prosper. We have just the person in mind for this project and remain hopeful that people who support our appeal will help us raise the funds to appoint her.
“Cook Talk Feast” enables young people to work alongside a skilled youth worker and...
Learn to listen and follow instructions
Learn basic cooking skills
Photograph their cooking creations and post the results and the recipes online
Take a food hygiene qualification if they want to which may help them find work
Teamwork and Social skills
Decide by consensus what to cook and budget for it taking into account other people’s tastes and suggestions
Prepare and cook tasty, affordable meals using fresh ingredients
Eat and share a meal together
Take responsibility for clearing up after the cooking
Listen and accept praise and criticism and learn how to criticize others constructively
Support and Encouragement
Build a positive relationship with the session leader
Receive praise for their efforts from the session leader
Share and talk about their lives, anxieties, problems and receive informal advice and guidance about better choices
You can find out more about our work here: www.therendezvous.org.uk