This message is dated Wednesday 11th July for the whole area.
Betty Marlow, Chair of the Datchet Horton & Wraysbury NAG has been working with one of her PCSOs Les Bradfield on a new initiative for the Borough. A chefs course, for 8 of our young people, has involved an enormous amount of work behind the scenes, but it has worked and proved successful. Les was able to organise this, because he was a fine dining / corporate events chef, for many years. Betty and Les have kept a full folder outlining exactly what they have done, lesson plans etc. etc. where they obtained support and materials, so that a next course has that resource available to them. Jen Samms, the NAG Chair from Old Windsor, was able to provide a sponsor to provide sufficient chicken for the final banquet, where 50 people were entertained, with canapés, main courses and desert, completely prepared and cooked by the 8 young potential chefs. This project could of course be carried out anywhere across the Borough, now that the hard work is in place. Another course could be organised by a local restaurant, group of local restaurants, local hotel or company. The community working together – can make a difference.
The Mayor of the Royal Borough and John Campbell Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) from Thames Valley Police were among other invited guests.
The initiative ‘Neighbourhood Food Academy’ was set-up in April this year, with the aim of bringing together young people with local police officers and other members of authority in a non-threatening environment, to help build relationships and share experiences, while obtaining basic life skills.
Over the past eleven weeks, the initiative has seen a total of eight pupils from Churchmead Church of England School and The Windsor Boys’ School, learn how to cook various dishes by qualified chef PCSO Les Bradfield -. The group of students met PCSO Bradfield after school to gain valuable knowledge of basic cooking skills and techniques, health and safety requirements, as well as an understanding of dietary and nutritional food science by using fresh locally produced seasonal produce.
To mark the end of their learning and to allow the next set of pupils to take part in the on-going project, they, together with other pupils who assisted as waiters and waitresses, prepared and served a fine banquet at Churchmead Church of England School on the evening of Tuesday 3 July, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all those present.
The evening not only consisted of freshly prepared canapés and a three course dinner, but a speech from the Mayor, Councillor Colin Rayner, as well as an award ceremony where the team of aspiring chefs were presented with a nationally recognised ‘Craft Guild of Master Chefs’ certificate by ACC John Campbell from Thames Valley Police. Closing comments followed by the initiative’s organiser Betty Marlow, independent chairman of the local Neighbourhood Action Group for Datchet Horton and Wraysbury.
She said: “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to everyone who has been involved in so positively embracing the concept of this community initiative. I would like to pay special thanks to Les who has done a sterling job teaching the pupils and the volunteers who assisted every week Not only have they gained valuable lifelong skills in cooking, but I have also seen a real boost of confidence and building of relationships and positive partnerships within the community.”
Her sentiments were echoed by both the Mayor and the ACC.
Addressing the audience, Councillor Rayner thanked Betty for all her hard work and for being the driving force behind such a worthwhile project. He said: “Betty has worked tirelessly for the community and this is yet another fine example of her excellent work.” He added: “Young people can often get bad press but I am very proud of everyone who has so far contributed to this initiative. They should be extremely proud of their achievements.”
ACC John Campbell also paid tribute to Betty’s hard work and said there was a real need for such community-led projects which would undoubtedly help forge closer relationships and break down possible barriers between the police and young people. He also thanked PCSO Les Bradfield and the rest of the neighbourhood policing team for their commitment and dedication, overseen by local commander Acting Supt. David Gilbert.
The new initiative will continue to be operate by the Neighbourhood Action Group in partnership with Thames Valley Police and Churchmead Church of England School.
The community led project is grateful to its sponsors Mars; Collvett Corporate Workwear, Datchet; Sight and Sound Entertainment; Mrs J.Samms; Marriott Hotel (Windsor/Heathrow) and The Craft Guild of Master Chefs.
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