Equal People Mencap

Making food work

‘Turning dreams into action at the pace of the individual.’ This is the mission of Equal People Mencap, a west London charity that supports learning disabled and autistic people and people with complex needs to live the lives they choose. Following the success of their recent Healthy Living Project, which you can read about here, Equal People Mencap asked their members what further support they wanted. Feedback included: “Learning skills I can use at home, like cooking for my friends” and “Help to get a paid job”.

So the charity developed the Making Food Work project, a year-long programme teaching skills for employment and offering paid work and volunteering opportunities. At the same time, it will help develop healthy living skills and awareness, build confidence, and offer a regular routine and social connection. We’ve awarded the project £24,802for funding towards a catering assistant, tutors, and some essential equipment.

  • Making Food Work will provide catering, gardening and IT skills training to 40 people a year.
  • The project will provide at least two paid catering or gardening assistant jobs, paying the London Living Wage, and 20 volunteer roles.
  • Equal People Mencap supports individuals from 33 different countries speaking 27 different languages.

Personalised support

The Making Food Work project will offer 48 cooking, 48 baking, 48 IT and 48 gardening group sessions a year, and 20 one-to-one IT sessions a month. To help with employability, each participant will receive personalised support with plans, assessments and reviews. They will also have the opportunity to attend CV writing workshops and human resources (HR) surgeries with specialist job agencies.

As well as taking part in the project, Equal People Mencap’s members help to plan and deliver it. While Making Food Work participants are learning and practising their catering skills, they’ll be creating healthy lunches twice a week for anyone visiting the charity’s drop in service – a place where people can socialise and get advice and support if they need it.

“I’ve done lots of voluntary work and training. I’m a good cook now. Now I’d like a paid job.

I can show others what to do too. If we do the project I will apply.”

Equal People Mencap member

More Success Stories

Access to Opportunity
Geography: United Kingdom | Year: 2021,2022

Chefs in Schools

London-based charity Chefs in Schools is transforming school food and food education, one nutritious meal at a time.
Access to Opportunity
Geography: United Kingdom | Year: 2021,2022,2023

Avenues Youth Project

Young people in Westminster are learning cookery skills that will set them up for life.
Access to Opportunity
Geography: United Kingdom | Year: 2021,2022

Equal People Mencap

Our grant to Equal People Mencap is supporting people with learning disabilities to live healthy lives