MSPs say "Yes Chef" to Action for Children

Posted by / Monday 22 May 2017 / Events
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A few weeks ago, MSPs and Government Ministers at Holyrood  enjoyed a meal prepared for them by young men supported by Action for Children Scotland.

The food served on the night was cooked by the young men, who all spent time in prison at an early age, and are being supported by our 'Moving On Scotland' service.

One of the practical programmes offered by the service is 'Yes Chef'. The 12-week course sees the young men learning to cook in restaurants across Glasgow before preparing a six-course tasting menu for hundreds of guests at 'Yes Chef 2017!' The event takes place at the Glasgow Hilton later this week on Sunday 28 May.

Initially a way to teach them to prepare meals on a limited budget, the course has seen a number of participants move into a career in the hospitality sector. Since launching in 2014, a total of 18 young men have gone through the 'Yes Chef!' programme with all 18 securing work in kitchens at the end. Of that group, 17 entered work, training or education; 14 stayed in work, training or education - five within kitchens, while 15 (83%) have not returned to prison.

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The dinner was attended by (amongst others) Michael Matheson MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice; Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities; Joe FitzPatrick MSP, Minister for Parliamentary Business and; Mark McDonald MSP's Minister for Childcare and Early Years. Also in attendance was Linda Fabiani MSP, Deputy Presiding Officer at the Scottish Parliament, and Alison Di Rollo; Solicitor General. They were joined by representatives from the Robertson Trust which provides grants to charities, Skills Development Scotland as well as Action for Children.

Paul Carberry, National Director for Scotland, said: "We're delighted that the young men taking part in our 'Yes Chef' programme had the chance to cook at the Scottish Parliament.

"Not only was this a great opportunity for the young men themselves but it also gave Ministers and MSPs the chance to hear more about 'Moving On' and the journey the boys are on, all while enjoying a great meal. Prior to the 'Yes Chef' programme, the boys had barely spent any time in the kitchen but after 12 weeks of training, will find themselves cooking for hundreds of people. It's a huge pressure but they have responded brilliantly to it so far. 

"Our 'Yes Chef!' programme is innovative because it gives the young people we support the chance to develop new skills and gain qualifications. We have seen how successful it has been in previous years and we hope this latest group follow the lead of those who have taken part previously in turning their lives around."

Paul Carberry, National Director for Scotland

"Our 'Yes Chef!' programme is innovative because it gives the young people we support the chance to develop new skills and gain qualifications. We have seen how successful it has been in previous years and we hope this latest group follow the lead of those who have taken part previously in turning their lives around."

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, said: "Supporting young people who have spent time in custody to reintegrate into their communities is a priority for the Scottish Government. The evidence shows that giving people the skills and opportunity to earn a living are absolutely key in ending the cycle of offending.

"The success rate of 'Moving On Scotland' clearly shows that, with tailored support, these young people have an important place in society and a contribution to make. I am delighted that so many of us here at the parliament are able to meet the young chefs and enjoy the delicious meals they have prepared for us."

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