Slow Cooking with The Whitechapel Centre

In October 2020, we started discussions with The Whitechapel Centre about working in partnership together on one of our community learning courses.

The Whitechapel Centre's New Beginnings Project is part of a programme offering support to people in Liverpool who experience multiple and complex needs. They work with adults who are affected by Homelessness, Mental Health, Substance Misuse and Offending.

The New Beginnings team works in a similar way to GTDT's Community Learning provision by providing people with informal learning opportunities / activities with a long term aim of supporting them into mainstream learning, volunteering and employment and in the short term, by building confidence and motivation as well as helping people to learn new skills and increase social inclusion.

Our discussions resulted in a bespoke 6 week Slow Cooking community learning course starting in late November 2020 in partnership with the New Beginnings team.

Whilst Liverpool was still in Tier 2 at the time, GTDT had taken the decision to continue to deliver our courses using a range of distance learning methods and platforms - something that has come in useful with the current lockdown situation.  The Whitechapel Centre in contrast had two venues where their learners were resident, so the learners as they lived on site were able to work together on the course, albeit socially distanced.

GTDT provided the learners with a slow cooker each, a resource booklet, a bag of veg each week - linked to a suggested recipe, access to a tutor who delivered a weekly online session and provided additional support and guidance, videos of how to cook the suggest recipe, links to a whole host of online resources to extend and push their confidence and learning using a slow cooker.

We had to further adapt the learning following Christmas, to keep in line with the new lockdown restrictions and learners had to adapt to learning individually, but given the range of blended learning resources and materials and the support of their GTDT tutor and New Beginnings staff we deftly overcame the additional lockdown obstacles.

The learners have produced some wonderful dishes, got used to cooking with a range of vegetables, some of which they haven't tried before and learned a whole host of cooking skills and benefits centred around slow cooking.

Some of the learners comments include:
"I learnt to make veg soup and how to season things. I have a habit of removing Lid but I now know it needs to stay on. I am really enjoying the programme and meeting the tutor weekly is really helpful."

"learned how to chop an onion, love feeling that I have cooked a meal myself, it was hard to chop some of the veg into chunks because of the size."

"stunned you can actually make lasagne without using an oven, was reluctant to taste but surprised how nice it turned out."

"learned a lot about different veg I never ate before and now like, found it difficult to chop veg at first but learning easier ways to do it now."