Croydon Partnership continues support for local businesses

10 Aug 2016

Croydon Partnership is keen to support the existing work of local businesses such as Mum's The Chef that support unemployment and skills development.

Mum’s The Chef is a social enterprise centered on helping long term unemployed people in Croydon cook their way out of poverty and into society. A pragmatic approach to social issues is at the heart of Mum’s The Chef. Initially helping long term unemployed benefit capped women, the custodians of our next generation, escape the risk of homelessness. The Department of Work and Pension’s own research into impact assessment of the benefit cap concluded that it would be families with more than two children that would be affected the most and by extension, ethnic minority groups as this group tended to have larger families. The founder of Mum’s The Chef, was a member of The Ethnic Minority Advisory Group to the DWP at the time of the policies implementation, and realised that there were few if any, programmes out there that could help this target group. All that needed to be done to escape the benefit cap and the risk of homelessness was to work 16 hours a week, and earn less than £156 a week to ensure payments of rental were affordable. Initially Mum’s The Chef was set up to facilitate a cookery course by supporting students into College and broker jobs for them on a placement fee. It became evident that there was a mismatch between what employers needed in terms of long hours and the caring responsibilities of our beneficiaries.

MTC now provides training and qualifications to all long term unemployed people in the London Borough of Croydon, as a pathway to employment.

Employment within MTC can be provided as a result of contracts won, which include Wandle Park Café, catering services for private, community and corporate events, or with the growing food kiosk market.

From a consumer’s perspective MTC offers “foodies” authentic, homemade cuisine, across a diverse range of cuisines.Since April 2013, 120 candidates have completed their NVQ1 in Food Preparation and Cooking and 10 their NVQ2 in Professional Cookery. With a 100% pass rate.

Over 50% of candidates have gained employment either directly or indirectly, since completing the Mum’s The Chef course. In October 2013, four out of nine finalists at the Asian Curry awards 2013 were from Mum’s The Chef. Tamar Howson, one of Mum’s The Chef’s graduates (now an employee), was awarded the runner up prize. a year later, Mum’s The Chef awarded Business Enterprise of the Year at Croydon Champions Awards 2014.