MINICHEF IN THE KITCHEN
Minichef in the Kitchen was in its second year when Sue Barnes of Novas Scarman directed them to ‘Let’s Protect’ in May 2011. Previously named Hungry Monkeys, the project had received a start-up grant via the Children Can Do fund in 2010. The project leader, Nyoong Ramnonchat (Yoong) had since dissolved the original group and management committee and reformed as Minichef following some teething problems. We had previously met when they attended one of our Safeguarding and Child Protection courses in order to qualify for their grant so they were very open to the support on offer.
Minichef’s aims are to develop neighbourhood and community networks and encourage healthy eating by running Thai cookery classes for parents and children while involving children in learning about different Thai fruit and vegetables and healthy food. The Minichef methods also extend to workshops in primary schools and a partner project with Plot 22, an allotment scheme who also got involved in the training and Quality Assurance programmes.
Yoong has English as a second language and was very anxious to make sure her policies and procedures were up to date, relevant and compliant as well as easy for her to pass on to 2 new volunteers. Initially there were no written policies at all – Yoong ran her in-house workshops from the Hungry Monkeys food store, in situ at schools, and on site at Plot 22. As the schools and Plot 22 had their own policies and insurance, the focus was on the store and organisation as a whole.
Yoong met with the Let’s Protect Co-ordinator four times over a six month period to discuss and develop appropriate policies and procedures – she had already accessed the Safeguarding and Child Protection training the year previously. The Simple Quality Protects scheme enabled Yoong to check all of her legal requirements were in place – Constitution, Public Liability insurance, Emergency Procedures, clear contracts with venues, HR Policies – all safeguarding & child protection policies and procedures. After completing the Staff handbook, Minichef was awarded the Silver Level of the Simple Quality Protects Quality Assurance Programme.
In the weeks following the Award, the Let’s Protect Co-ordinator supported a student from the University of Brighton to undertake a 50 hour placement with Minichef to support them to raise their Participation activities and involve children and families in the planning and evaluation of workshops.