Centre gets training kitchen
A LOWESTOFT drop-in centre which helps the homeless and people in difficulty is cooking up a treat, thanks to a �414,000 lottery windfall.
The Bridge View drop-in centre has set up a kitchen to train 250 people over the next four years in an effort to show them how to cook and manage their food budgets.
On Wednesday, the kitchen was unveiled at an open day at the centre in Commercial Road, which provides computer training, information on benefits, drugs, alcohol and mental health services, and has its own domestic violence worker.
The St Johns Housing Trust, which runs the centre, applied for the �414,247 of Big Lottery Fund grant as many people who come to it for help do not know how to cook, or require help with their food budgeting.
Over five or six sessions, people will be taught the basics of cooking, such as how to boil an egg, and will end up knowing how to cook a meal for themselves.
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It is hoped that by giving people new culinary skills, it will help them to build their confidence, increase their independence and encourage them to join other training and education courses.
Eleanor Catchpole, personal development manager who is running the cooking classes, said: 'We will be starting off with basic things like knowing if an egg is fresh, and then move on to cooking omelettes and cakes, and then a meal. We can even do 101 things to do with tin of tomatoes.
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'And we will be showing people how to budget and make the most of what they have.'
Centre manager Stuart Jennings said the kitchen training was needed as some people were coming to the Bridge View lacking basic life skills or needing a boost in confidence to help them re-build their lives.
He said: 'We have identified an increased demand for Bridge View to provide more personal development skills for people and to improve confidence.'
The Big Lottery Fund's Reaching Communities grant has also led to general improvements to the centre, which was set up two years ago. It provides a weekly base for the Samaritans and offers advice on how to give up smoking.
At Wednesday's open day, John O'Sullivan, chief executive of the St Johns Housing Trust enjoyed some treats made in what he described as the 'fantastic' new kitchen, along with Lowestoft's mayor Tod Sullivan.
For information on the Bridge View Drop-in Centre call 01502 513974.