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Graduation lunch celebrates 'Can't Cook, Will Cook' charity success

Graduation lunch celebrates 'Can't Cook, Will Cook' charity success

Eight homeless people graduated from a 10 week culinary training course at a grand celebration lunch at St Mungo's Head Office in Hammersmith last week.

The annual ‘Can’t Cook, Will Cook’ programme is the result of a partnership between Caterplus and St Mungo’s homelessness charity*. The scheme has been running since 2009. The course, designed to boost the confidence and kitchen skills of homeless people, teaches trainees a wide variety of catering skills including how to cook sweet and savoury dishes and bread-making, and how to handle kitchen equipment, food safety and hygiene.

Now in its fourth year, the programme was designed by Caterplus to help improve the chances of homeless people gaining long-term employment. It is one of 13 skills and employment programmes and projects offered by St Mungo’s to its 2000 residents.

Caterplus, which specialises in catering for the care and welfare sector and is part of Waterfall Services, has previously sponsored graduates of the ‘Can’t Cook, Will Cook’ course to undertake further training, which could lead to paid apprenticeships with the company.

Paul Robottom, managing director of Caterplus Services, said: “Working with St. Mungo’s is a great privilege. This is a very worthy project in ensuring homeless and excluded people can improve their quality of life. What’s more, the standard of catering skill and talent that we see among the course trainees is astonishing.”

David Evans, St Mungo’s executive director of finance, IT services and information, presented the certificates. He said: “This is the biggest group to complete this Caterplus programme so far. What these chefs have achieved is really impressive and our congratulations go as well to Jim McGurk, the chef trainer from Caterplus, for his commitment and expertise in supporting our clients to achieve their success.”

* St Mungo's runs over 200 projects across London and the South helping people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The organisation provides accommodation, and much more, for 2000 people each night. From emergency support off the streets to semi-independent housing and move on guidance, employment opportunities, training and health support, St Mungo’s helps thousands of people every year recover from the issues that create homelessness. www.mungos.org

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