Essex Community Foundation

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A Taste of Opportunity

14th April 2015

Enterprise, enthusiasm and education were on the menu when a group of youngsters took part in a special cookery workshop at The Pier restaurant in Harwich and found out how to turn food they had grown themselves into tasty fresh meals.

Staff at the restaurant gave up their time to pass on some of their skills to the youngsters and give them a taste of the working environment of a busy restaurant.

The workshop at The Pier, which is run by Milsom Hotels, was part of a successful project run by the Harwich-based charity Teen Talk, which runs a range of activities to help children and families.

During the session the youngsters were given hands-on experience of creating various dishes, including how to make bread, fresh tomato sauce and how to cook fresh fish.

They were also able to sample some recipes which had been made with fruit and vegetables they had grown in Teen Talk’s “edible garden,” an initiative made possible thanks to a grant from the Milsom Charitable Fund, which is managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Hayley Lovett from Teen Talk Harwich said: “We were able to redevelop the garden at Teen Talk to create the edible garden for the community and it now includes two large raised beds for growing fruit and vegetables.

“A team of young people and their families are responsible for maintaining the garden, choosing what they would like to grow, planning the garden, planting, growing and harvesting what is grown. The garden provides a year round activity for the community to be involved in and as the young people become more experienced in maintaining the garden, their confidence and self-esteem grows. It helps them develop skills and experience which will be very valuable in the future when they are seeking employment, such as the ability to work as part of a team, communication, problem solving and organisation skills.

“The project also links in to our cookery workshops where young people turn what they have grown in to healthy meals. We were delighted to be invited to The Pier for the special cookery workshop and it was very good of John Goff, who is head chef at the Pier, to give up his time for us. It was a great day and the youngsters learned such a lot.”

Paul Milsom, Managing Director of Milsom Hotels said: “We were very pleased to give the grant to Teen Talk to enable them to create their edible garden and as a follow on from this it was a pleasure to invite them to The Pier to give them the opportunity to find out how they can use the food they gave grown to make healthy and delicious meals.

“As a local company we support a number of charities, but we find it is particularly rewarding to have a charitable fund with ECF, through which we can give much needed support to some of the smaller, less well-known charities which make such a difference in their community.”

Paul and his wife Geraldine established their charitable fund with ECF in 2007 in memory of Paul’s father, Gerald. To date, the fund has awarded grants totalling £11,600 to support a wide range of charitable projects in the Colchester and Tendring areas including:

The Ark Family Resource Centre - £1,684 To help vulnerable parents and children in the Harwich area.
4th Dovercourt Sea Scouts Group – £1,300 To buy replacement climbing wall equipment
Essex Outward Bound Association - £1,200 for young carers to attend an outdoor activity centre.
The Frobisher School PTA - £600 to help establish and run an after-school cookery club for children attending a primary school in Jaywick.