In 2013 an opportunity presented itself that enabled Metropolitan Jerome to realise a way of supporting and enabling people to find training and employment and a way out of homelessness. A local publican mentioned to His Grace that he was looking for someone to franchise his pub kitchen to.
At The Hub homeless drop-in His Grace helped start in 2009, Metropolitan Jerome realised that some of the guests volunteering in the kitchen obviously had experience or an aptitude for catering. However, due to the social stigma attached to homelessness, potential employers shied away from accepting referrals for trial shifts – the standard industry way for employers to assess and recruit employees. When the opportunity to run a commercial franchise kitchen was presented, His Grace quickly realised that he could provide the opportunity for his guests others were reluctant to.
The Regency Tavern, an early 19C venue in central Brighton infamous for its faux Regency decor inspired the name of the new apostolate, Cherubs Kitchen, named for the Baroque putti that adorned the walls of the tavern! Figuratively too of course, putti – cherubs – have often been portrayed in art with cornucopia i.e. horns of plenty and associated with feasts etc. and of course, cherubs are often depicted with wings and associated with angels – the venture’s name seemed obvious! So it was that Cherubs Kitchen began operating at the venue from March 2013 and began providing NVQ Apprenticeships in catering six months later. From the original venue the franchise eventually spread to four others across the city of Brighton, each employing disenfranchised people who just needed a helping hand to get their lives back on track.
A variety of people have been assisted by Cherubs Kitchen in the five years since its inception through the following ways;
- work experience: providing the opportunity to experience a commercial catering environment with a view to exploring a possible career in catering;
- work placement: particularly for those requiring work rehabilitation, i.e. who are hoping to return to work but need to regain confidence in social interactions and team working as well as getting back into a scheduled routine;
- NVQ apprenticeships: particularly for those who want a career in catering and need the qualifications to get them started, Cherubs Kitchen provides mentoring and coaching in the work-place for apprentices to gain experience and skills quickly, while earning.
The next stage in development for Cherubs Kitchen is to widen the scope of mentoring and training to facilitate placements in other commercial kitchens, bridging the funding gap ref apprenticeship costs and supporting apprentices in work to encourage employers to take and provide a chance for someone to turn their life around.
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