Recently Mark & Simon were invited over to the Crumbs HQ in Bournemouth for a tour around their space. Greeted by Sandy on reception, Ursula welcomed us through the doors to the team area where Chairman Peter Jones joined us and guided us through to the training centre where we enjoyed a coffee as Peter & Ursula gave us an insight into the work that The Crumbs Project undertakes.
Founded by Anne Gardner MBE, Crumbs came from the need for those in long-stay care to have a pattern to their day; A skill at their fingertips, a sense of working in a team and something to talk about to their friends and family about at the end of their day. Many badly damaged people came through the doors of their sheltered kitchen environment where so much recovery took place. Now, in 2021 from a dedicated professional training centre in Bournemouth they provide training in catering, housekeeping and administration for adults with a range of disabilities, giving them the life skills that encourage them into employment and independent living.
We heard from Peter about how he has navigated the cause operationally through the COVID times and about how they managed their group socially during the lockdowns by creating plenty of interactive online sessions to maintain the good spirits that you will always find them in. We also heard about their group chats that are still going today where they can share more social parts of their day and night, including who's their favourite celebrity for the coveted crown of 'Jungle King' and more.
We received the full operational tour of the various workrooms that they train in. First up was the laundry room, where they learn how to keep their uniforms clean, and a delivery room for the 'snak-paks' that local businesses add to their communal kitchen and staff areas (check that out here). Then we went through to the prep kitchen where we met the trainees Matthew & David, led by their Teacher Dave: Today's lesson was "how to make baguettes from scratch". They also bake cakes daily which are sold in local cafes. They had been busy batching up an army of hand decorated gingerbread men ready for deployment.
(The trainees were making up an army of gingerbread men ready to goto local cafes)
Next, we went through to their main kitchen where the team were busy preparing for the day's lunch service (Sausage Casserole was the dish of the day) overseen by Jane, and trainee William was mixing up some chocolate sponge cakes. They saw Mark's eyes looking lovingly at the chocolate cake so quickly and sensibly escorted us into the communal area to stop him pinching their cake of the day!
(Mark & Simon from Urban Guild, with the team of trainees and their teachers)
Over to the other side of the building, passing through their team wall where we saw some of their research work on allergens, plus learnt who was on their 'nice' list which was reassuringly long! Onto the last wing of the business which they are currently turning into their IT hub where they will be able to learn more essential life-skills which we are all heavily reliant on in today's online life. The tasks of creating and emailing their CV to an employer for a job application, accessing their finances through online banking to pay their bills, and more modern essentials will be taught to the trainees.
Our final destination was the back to the central office. Managed by Sandy who works with the trainees to create their CV, apply for jobs, prepare for them for interviews, coaches them in employment rights and provides buddy support; Accompanying them for interviews, and when they start a new job if they feel they need it.
As we were leaving, the afternoon students were arriving in preparation for their afternoon session; A happy, positive vibe was in abundance from everyone and they were excited to learn more about the wonderful world of hospitality that we know and love at Urban Guild. We're proud to become a part of this journey and look forward to supporting The Crumbs Project in a variety of ways, so keep your eyes peeled as we tell you more about the work we will be doing with them all.
For more information, and to help support this very worthy cause of training for independence you can visit crumbs.org.uk