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Levi Roots Puts Some Music Food Caterpluss Training Programme

Friday, 19 November 2010

Chef, musician and entrepreneur Levi Roots dropped in on the kitchens at Caterplus to find out more about its 'Can Cook Will Cook' catering training programme, which is run with homeless charity St Mungo's.


Levi Roots, who shot to fame when his Caribbean 'Reggae Reggae' sauce business featured on BBC's 'Dragon's Den', met with a group of three trainees participating in the course designed and run by Hugh McGivern from Caterplus, and staff from St Mungo's.


The 10-week vocational training course teaches trainees how to cook a variety of healthy and affordable meals and basic food hygiene and safety skills. After graduating, they have the opportunity to take a four-week advanced course which could lead to a paid apprenticeship with Caterplus.


Mr Roots said: "It's been a real pleasure to meet the St Mungo's trainees at Can Cook Will Cook and see first hand one of the charity's successful vocational programmes.


"As a big believer in combining food with business, I'm all for seeing how catering and chef skills training can really help homeless people to get their lives back on track and into work. I wish the group all the best for the future, I look forward to hearing more about their progress."


More than half of St Mungo's clients lack the skills to read and write to a functional level. Last year St Mungo's helped 120 people into work and 700 into training, as well as many into structured activities on their journey back into work.



Josephine Okoh is part of St Mungo's Pathways to Employment team. She said: "We are delighted that Levi came to see some of the work we are doing to help our clients on their journey back into work.  Courses like this one are important in helping develop particular skills but also vital in boosting people's motivation, will power and self esteem."


Hugh McGivern, Caterplus Group executive chef, said: "I get to see the benefits of the Can Cook Will Cook programme every day, so we're really pleased that Levi has come along to find out more about and support what we're doing.


"It's not simply that it gives homeless people an opportunity to develop skills that could lead to them getting a job. More importantly, it provides them with an all-important confidence boost to encourage them to start believing in themselves and their abilities. It's this effect that helps people to get back on their feet again."


Trainee chef Alan has been living at a St Mungo's hostel in Covent Garden since summer 2009. He said: "I've worked pretty much since I was 17 but, when my marriage broke down, I began to drink heavily and life just fell apart.


"Since coming to St Mungo's, I feel like they've given me so many options.


"I mentioned I enjoyed cooking and sure enough, the next day they gave me information about this catering course. I applied there and then.


"I have thoroughly enjoyed it, learning basic knife skills, food hygiene and learning all about different foods. I can't believe it's done - I'd like the course to be longer."


Since the Can Cook Will Cook initiative began in June 2009, nine people have completed the basic course, one trainee has started on a work placement with Caterplus, three are volunteering (two in the catering sector) and four have moved into full and part time work and apprenticeships.





Editor's Notes:

  • Caterplus Services Limited is the UK's largest, privately owned, provider of catering and housekeeping services to the care market. See www.caterplus.co.uk


  • St Mungo's opens doors for homeless people. We provide emergency help and run over 100 projects that house and support homeless people's recovery and prevent rough sleeping. Every year we help thousands of people to make permanent life changes. St Mungo's works with homeless people on housing, health and work and learning opportunities. www.mungos.org