ELS Spotlight - Open Cast Read about the impact the ELS programme is having on young people across the borough.

19 March 2019

Mary is 13 years old and lives in a single parent household with five other siblings. Mum is unemployed and struggles to make ends meet.

Mary and her siblings started attending Open Cast Youth Sessions in September last year. Initially she was shy, reluctant to join in and had little or no confidence in her own ability and skills.

Mary joined our Cooking for Beginners class and has attended twice weekly for almost 6 months now. She has learnt so many new skills, made new friends and can cook a huge variety of dishes from scratch.

Mary helps cook tea for all the young people at the Youth Sessions and has served, to name a few, chicken tikka masala, shepherds pie, lasagne and even Christmas dinner all made from scratch with fresh ingredients.

Mary will confidently circulate the Centre taking orders for Tea Club and serve and deliver the food she has prepared to all the young people in attendance. This in itself is a remarkable transformation from her first day of attendance. In addition, her and her siblings have tried (and for the most part, enjoyed!) an array of foods they’d never tasted before.

Mary now boast that she helps her mum with the cooking at home and has learnt how to cook healthily on a budget. Her confidence has soared and she has gained some life skills and memories she’ll carry through into her adulthood.