August 2, 2018 by Alison Watson-Shields
Since receiving funding for REACH, not a day has gone by where I haven’t thought about the project, worried about client retention, or obsessed about outcomes and project direction. Sometimes, it seems conflicted, while I definitely think the project has a purpose and position within the community; my client base disagrees Fortunately, the gentleman I am going to write about today has proven me wrong.
Shortly after REACH was launched, I received a referral from Kelvin. Right from the initial appointment, Kelvin seemed to have a clearer idea of what he wanted to achieve; he was passionate about cooking and catering. Kelvin said; “I really enjoy cooking and helping people.”
Kelvin already had a wealth of volunteer experience at ARC Stockton and Billingham Community Centre. Whilst this experience had given Kelvin hands-on experience of working in a kitchen environment, it didn’t really provide him with any functional skills in terms of food preparation and cooking. Kelvin said; “I enjoyed learning to prepare and cook from scratch,” and we both agreed to start researching potential volunteer opportunities that would provide the necessary skills.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to look too long because, as it happened, the Golden Zumba group at Grays Road Institute was looking to hire a volunteer Kitchen Assistant. After my manager approached me about the idea I suggested it to Kelvin and he, of course, jumped at the chance! It helped that Golden Zumba is delivered by Hand in Hand Activities CIC.
Kelvin was initially apprehensive about making mistakes and being able to follow complex instructions, however, after some ongoing coaching from REACH, he is working to tackle his concerns. Kelvin has been continuously supported by REACH throughout this voluntary work placement and we are immensely proud of Kelvin’s progress. I have received glowing feedback from the facilitator of the Golden Zumba group as well as participants. Kelvin said, “I like talking to everyone in the group – they always seemed really happy to see me!”
The group facilitator told me she is really impressed with the positive impact Kelvin is having on the group; his willingness and ability to assist everyone. Most recently, Kelvin was so impressed with his cooking effort that he photographed all of the ingredients on his phone so he could cook it at home as well. I’ve also encouraged Kelvin to take pictures of everything he makes in order to create a portfolio for future reference.
Kelvin intends to continue working with REACH to pursue more goals; finding paid employment, completing catering courses and to hire a Personal Assistant so he can go travelling around the country to increase his social circle.
If Kelvin continues to apply himself and make as much progress as he has made over the last several months I have every reason to believe he will fulfil these goals in no time.
Well done Kelvin keep up the great work!
REACH Project Lead