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A Gateway to success!


We're thrilled that last week our old cafe got a new lease of life - it was reopened as a learning kitchen for youngsters that come to the Trust.

We're thrilled that last week our old cafe got a new lease of life - it's been reopened as a learning kitchen for the youngsters that come to the Trust.

The programmes we run at Whirlow are all about maximising potential, even though some of our students like to keep it very well hidden. Thousands of youngsters have benefitted from the Trust’s educational programmes over the years, but we’ve long felt that we were missing an important bit of the puzzle – facilities that enable the development of life and employability skills.

So a dedicated kitchen will be a great place for young people to learn skills that will help them make the most of their potential. Practical, everyday skills like learning to prepare and cook food are so important. They are great things to be able to do and can be one of life’s great pleasures - particularly when shared with families and friends.

But there’s more to this kitchen – much more - hence the name Gateway. We hope that it will be an opening to other opportunities, and that what the students get up to in here will have real impact.

The next step might be helping stock our shop and café with products made using home-grown ingredients. Then perhaps working alongside our staff and volunteers in the shop, helping to sell those products. Or with our chefs in the café or at events. And wouldn’t it be fantastic if the skills learnt through the Gateway led to a job somewhere in the future.

But it wouldn't have been possible without Sheila and Andy, and the Mandashi Foundation. Without their generosity we would still be wondering how we could put this piece of the Whirlow jigsaw in place.

So to them, from everyone at Whirlow, thank you so, so much. You’ve given us a wonderful facility that is going to make an enormous difference to everyone who uses it.

Sheila said "We are really excited to have contributed to this fantastic project. Well done & thank you to the whole Whirlow Hall Farm Trust team for having the vision to create this amazingly productive space. The kitchen is the heart of a home and this kitchen could be the thriving heart of this place. A lot of fun and great things are going to be had in this kitchen.
The intellectually disabled members of our community are often hidden and, in my opinion don’t have enough opportunity to shine and showcase their talents and skills. This kitchen, with the right teaching and access, will allow many more people to enjoy what Whirlow Hall Farm Trust has to offer and give them the opportunity to learn vital new skills in their personal development like cooking; ultimately making delicious produce for the cafe and shop which will benefit the whole community. The real sign of a civilised society is how it cares for and embraces its most vulnerable people. The Trust is a catalyst for real inclusiveness and integration." 

In farm-appropriate tradition, Sheila and Andy opened the Gateway on Friday morning by cutting the ribbon with our trusty – rusty - wool shears. And by Monday the students were in knocking up their maiden batch of cheese scones - delicious!!

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