Guys Marsh prison supports Home-Start Volunteers
AT the end of February 14 Home-Start Volunteers, and parents receiving Home-Start support, arrived at HMP Guys Marsh to attend part one of a Food and Hygiene course led by head of catering at the prison, Steve Butler, and deputy head of catering Felix Durrant.
On completion all those attending will be awarded a Food Hygiene Level 2 certificate which qualifies them for the next three years to produce, serve and sell food for public consumption.
The training was prompted by the fact that many Home-Start Volunteers have found themselves helping parents with basic cookery and food hygiene in their homes and needed to have the appropriate certification.
Two volunteers explained why they had attended – "My hope was should I have any questions or queries from a family member I would be able to answer with facts known to be accurate" and "I thought it would be informative and useful to know both for myself and to be able to pass on with confidence to my Home Start family".
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For a number of the mums who attended the NVQ level 2 qualification will enable them to apply for jobs in the food and catering trade as well as covering them for any fund raising events where they might be preparing, serving and selling food.
The general consensus was the evening had been, "informative and useful especially if I were teaching someone how to cook, lots of information to take in".
Steve Butler and Felix Durrant are qualified NVQ assessors and have a wealth of experience running this course. All prisoners who work in the kitchens at Guys Marsh or serve food on the Wings have to have completed either Level 1 or Level 2 before being employed. "It was good to work with this group of women and to give some support to Home-Start," said Steve.
The Governor of Guys Marsh, Duncan Burles, is an active supporter of the charity as he knows how difficult life is for the families of offenders and how the support of a Home-Start Volunteer can make all the difference to a family's survival when a parent is in prison.
The Trustees were able to offer this additional training thanks to the grant they received from the Dorset Community Foundation. "It was a really worthwhile evening," said organiser Jamie Keast, "and I learnt a lot too; I think maybe my kitchen needs a bit of reorganising!"
Caroline Wallace (Trustee for Home-Start North Dorset)