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Young people with a disability are being given an exciting opportunity to gain work experience in a commercial kitchen thanks to a partnership between Sawtell Meals on Wheels and Enterprise and Training Company Limited (ETC).

Sawtell Meals on Wheels Service Manager Leanne Russell said the program offered the young people a chance to obtain the skills and experience necessary to gain future employment in the hospitality sector.

“The students are learning about food preparation, food safety, food presentation, communication and socialisation and more importantly working in a team” Ms Russell said.

“They’re also learning important life skills by taking home instructions and samples so that they can continue to use their skills at home preparing meals for both themselves and their families.”

Chloe Godbold has been volunteering at Sawtell Meals on Wheels one day a week for the past 18 months and said it had renewed her interest in pursuing a career in the hospitality sector.

“I had done some work experience at a fast food outlet and the boss screamed at me for being too slow, so I left,” Chloe said.

“It’s very different at Sawtell Meals on Wheels. I love it. They listen to me and everyone is friendly.”

Jordan Fogarty agrees.

“If we make a mistake, we don’t get yelled out,” Jordan said. “They spoil us and we have fun days.”

Caitlin Jackson said her knife skills, and knowledge of safe food handling had increased during her time volunteering at Sawtell Meals on Wheels and that she had been exposed to lots of new foods she had never made or eaten before.

ETC Director Graeme Singleton said ETC was pleased to support Sawtell Meals on Wheels to the tune of $15,000 through the ETC Community Support Fund.

”Sawtell Meals on Wheels provides an invaluable service in our community and we are pleased to be able to support them in the fantastic work that they do. We also appreciate the opportunity they are giving young people with a disability,” Mr Singleton said.

Sawtell Meals on Wheels opens its outdoor decking to serve as a “Lunch Hutt” on the last Thursday of each month.

“This enables the students to serve the community and put into practice their culinary skills,” Ms Russell said.

“It also gives the students a spirit of community participation. Our volunteers and clients love the students. They love the program and seeing what we are doing is actually helping young people.”

The ‘Lunch Hutt’ is located at 25 Elizabeth Street, Sawtell and is open from 10 am for morning tea or for lunch from 11am.

For a small cost, all money raised on this day goes back into the program so it can continue into 2015.

Group bookings on any other Thursday can also be accommodated.

For further information contact Leanne Russell on 66533298.



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