Boost for homeless hostel which helps people grow and cook own food

Growing skills: From left, Lewis Hoogendyk, Leszek Wcisco, Jay Landshaft and Sue Playle.
Growing skills: From left, Lewis Hoogendyk, Leszek Wcisco, Jay Landshaft and Sue Playle.

A homeless hostel, which aims to teach people how to grow and cook their own food, has been given £600 to help towards the scheme.

The Axiom-owned hostel, in Red Lion Street, Boston, received the funding from Boston Borough Council to support its Eat and Cook 4 Life programme, which was set up two years ago.

The programme, led by project worker Sue Playle, invites residents which are often moving homes to learn how to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs and how to cook their own food in a variety of ways – including full Christmas dinners with puddings.

Sue said the projects can have an effect not only on a practical level but also with people’s confidence.

She said: “One resident came here with a lot of issues; mixing with people was a big thing, but gradually as he learnt to cook and budget, he started to interact with others.

“In the end, he got to the stage where he not only helped me decide what baking equipment we needed for the kitchen, he also came with me when we bought it.

“This was a big accomplishment because before he came here, he was so low in confidence, he would go into a shop then walk straight back out again because he felt he couldn’t do what he needed to do.”

The hostel houses six residents at any one time, for short periods of time.

Sue organises a series of workshops looking at food, including one that helped them to prepare Christmas dinners.

She says she is immensely proud of all of the pupils she has heled.

Those taking part have even entered food into the Big Boston Bake-Off and been to the Boston Showcase, which they are returning to on September 8.

The project was praised by a variety of reports including a case study by Food 4 Life and works by universities.