Successful ‘back to work’ pilot scheme now seeks further funding

A pilot scheme which gives unemployed people cooking skills, accreditation and support with job searches has gottenoff to a great start and is now seeking further funding to help more people.

BCHA Learn and Bournemouth Foodbank in Boscombe, have just run two, free, six-week Catering, Barista and Hospitality courses at the Foodbank’s new Training Café.

Participants have enjoyed cooking on a budget with Chef Ciro Vitiello, along with food and hygiene certification and support with CV building, interview techniques and job searches with BCHA Learn coaches.

BCHA Learn and Bournemouth Foodbank are now seeking further corporate, charitable and local government funding to roll-out the course to more people.

Course participant Rachel Beaven said the course has given her the push she needed to take her first step into a career in teaching.

“This course has been so much better than I ever expected,” she said.

“I have been raising my children for the last 10 years. My youngest child is about to start school and I want to train for my dream job as a Teaching Assistant, but I have been nervous about taking the first step.

“Thanks to this course, all that has changed.

“The support I have had from the skills coaches Sarah and Nadia with my CV and interview techniques has been amazing. Nothing is too much trouble for them.

“On top of that I have learned how to cook some affordable but delicious meals with Chef Ciro and I have met some lovely people too. All of which has really boosted my confidence.

“This week I secured a place volunteering at my daughter’s school, and this will prepare me to apply for my TA training. I can’t recommend this course enough and really hope it is offered to more people.”

BCHA Learn is the skills and employability arm of BCHA, a leading housing and education provider operating throughout Dorset and across the South West.

Bournemouth Foodbank is funded by local churches and community groups and works to stop hunger and bring together the community in the local area.

Val Jefferies, Project Manager for BCHA Learn said: “It has been an exciting venture to work with Bournemouth Foodbank and the blend of practical kitchen skills, fun with Chef Ciro and employability sessions with BCHA Learn Advisors has been perfect.  The participants have learned new things each week, gained confidence and have been able to interact with people they may have never normally crossed paths with. A true success!”

Debbie Coombes, Project Director of Bournemouth Foodbank said: “It has been such a meaningful and worthwhile partnership between Bournemouth Foodbank and BCHA.  It has been great to watch (and taste) the food being prepared by the trainees. They have learnt so much and enjoyed it all, gaining the skills we had hoped they would.”

Organisations, businesses or bodies interested in finding out more about supporting future courses are asked to email:


Picture caption: COOKING ON GAS – (left to right) Pilot scheme participants Darren, Rachel Beaven and Nonge, Chef Ciro Vitiello, Debbie Coombes, Project Director of Bournemouth Foodbank, Val Jefferies, Project Manager for BCHA Learn and course participants Farahnaz and Hossien.

Media information on this release from Debbie Granville at Deep South Media on: 07884 657782 email:

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.