The Nourishment of Food for Change
When hearing about Lucy’s new job in a veterinary practice and the many difficulties she’d overcome to get it, it wasn’t immediately obvious how Food for Change could have played a part. But without their help, Lucy wouldn’t be doing a job she loves.
Food for Change is an initiative supported by Transformation Cornwall and the Cornwall Food Foundation that helps to improve people’s life chances through food. Anyone, of any age, who is out of work or education and struggling to make the next step can work with Food for Change to help regain or discover, maybe for the first time, their own value by working with food.
In Lucy’s case, this indulged her passion for food and led her to a barista course. However, it could mean working in a café, a kitchen, horticulture, trading or at any point in the journey that food makes from being grown to being eaten. You don’t have to have a passion or even an interest in food but working within that industry is a great way to learn new skills, be with other people and get involved in your community.
Food for Change is so much more than a barista course
Nicky Abrahams, community support worker for Food for Change, introduced Lucy to the barista course. “Food for Change is personal. It’s about giving one-to-one support which means it can be holistic, centred around things that are important to the individual. Combine that with training and work placements and people really begin to develop personally. Their sense of well-being and self-esteem goes up and that really helps with their progress towards work.”
And Lucy agrees. “I love working with food, but this was a really good way to get my confidence back. Nicky did so much more than suggest a barista course. She worked with me on my confidence issues, helped with applying for jobs, my interview technique and even sorted out the transportation for me.” Lucy explained Nicky’s kindness and attentiveness to the small details really made her feel valued so that she could move forward with her life.
“Nicky … worked with me on my confidence issues, helped with applying for jobs, my interview technique and even sorted out the transportation for me.”
Lucy has had many challenging problems to overcome. As a teenager she was suddenly moved a long way from the familiarity of home with her mother, just before her A Levels. A series of further moves, an accident and multiple health issues left Lucy feeling anxious and uncertain about her own value and place in life.
When Food for Change and Nicky came into her life, Lucy had already tried several different directions with work and education, from a marine and agriculture degree to working as a patisserie chef and was struggling with health issues and the benefit system. “It wasn’t great, even the Job Centre were pretty appalled at how I was being treated by the DWP after an operation to remove part of a bone from my arm.”
The frustration of not being heard
Like many people, young and old, Lucy felt she wasn’t being heard and life became hard, frustrating and isolating. “I lived in a village, but the community wasn’t really there for me, no one asked how I was after I lost my grandmother.”
When you’re at a low ebb, it’s not easy to make connections but doing something practical, like a barista course or anything to do with food, is really sociable. There are always people around, from the production to cooking, serving or selling. And the skill set that can be developed from that is invaluable. “Nicky really helped me – even just by getting me out of the house, seeing the bigger picture and giving me the confidence to go for something that I thought was beyond me.”
“Nicky from Food for Change really helped me – even just by getting me out of the house, seeing the bigger picture and giving me the confidence to go for something that I thought was beyond me.”
Lucy was helped through Building Better Opportunities, a National Lottery Community Fund that matches funds from the European Social Fund for projects like Food for Change. If you would like to find out more about how you, or anyone you know, could get help to take a step towards education or employment, email Food for Change at firstname.lastname@example.org