Update from Gateway Church Shoestrings Project!

Posted on December 13, 2017

Following a £250 donation from our Community Fund earlier this year, Neil Morris, a trustee at the Gateway Church in Barnsley sent us the following update...

Gateway Church Shoestrings Project

Gateway Church Shoestrings Project

The SHOESTRINGS initiative was a pilot run of a 3 week course - surviving and managing on a low income which included the following topics built into the content of a Cook and Eat activity session:

DELICIOUS DIETS - Convenience costs more.

BALANCING BUDGETS - Managing your own money.

SENSIBLE SHOPPING - When is a bargain not a bargain?

CREATIVE MENUS – How to prepare interesting and quick meals.

The course aims were: -

  • To develop self esteem
  • To be confident in making informed decisions
  • To be responsible for own health & that of the family
  • To accept that careful budgeting can reap rewards
  • To develop literacy & numeracy skills in a creative and informal environment
  • To develop self confidence
  • Learn not to sit back and feel there is no hope
  • Create a positive mental outlook
Gateway Church Shoestrings Project

Gateway Church Shoestrings Project

In order to make this course happen, Nicola Markham, a qualified Teacher and Chef, was recruited. She has also worked for 11 years in the Financial Services sector. 

It was decided that the course would be very much hands on – undertaking practical cooking whilst attaching theory to the work in hand.

Learners were recruited via a variety of methods – advertising flyers; Outreach Visits to other agencies, people accessing the church food banks and Debt Help and Addiction Release programmes. 

Our target was 8 learners – overall 14 individuals engaged with the course and they all had varied abilities; some had basic understanding while others had no cooking or budgeting experience at all.  In addition to this there were a couple of qualified teachers who wanted to observe this initiative from a “hands on” point of view to see if it was transferable to another organisation.

The profile of the group was that several had mental health issues; addiction issues and their self esteem and worth was low; yet the biggest impact on the group was the social interaction as most of the learners were also socially isolated.   

Group interaction – working with others; being co-operative and developing skills like tolerance were also evident in the activity sessions and overall this initiative was a transformational process - supporting and bringing hope to people.

Without doubt this initiative has been a total success making a real impact on individual’s lives; all of the courses learning outcomes were achieved and a social change has occurred.

As a result of this success we have made several applications to larger Charitable Trusts for funding to expand this work.    

A further positive outcome is that a group of the students cooked a Christmas Community Meal under the tutor’s supervision (pictures below) at Mottram Hall for both volunteers who work in Gateway Church’s Food Banks and local residents

Neil Morris,

11 December 2017

Trustee, Gateway Church Barnsley,

07736449976 - astonnm@aol.com

Gateway Church Shoestrings Project

Gateway Church Shoestrings Project

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