Leicester-based catering company Dimblebee Catering have sponsored a social enterprise that saw refugees and asylum seekers gain qualifications and invaluable life experience.
Dimblebee Catering have enabled ten aspiring chefs to complete their Level 2 Food Hygiene Course as part of Soft Touch Arts’ cooking project ‘Toastbusters’, which works in partnership with Leicestershire Red Cross to support refugees and asylum seekers in Leicester.
Christina Wigmore, Business and Strategic Director at Soft Touch Arts, said: “Donations and support from businesses like Dimblebee Catering is vital to keep projects like Toastbusters running.
“In a society which often labels asylum seekers in a negative way, it’s so refreshing that the Team at Dimblebee’s could see the positive contribution offered in terms of putting something back into their communities through volunteering and using their cooking skills for social benefit.”
Those in need took part in the Toastbusters cooking project, which aims to combat social isolation and help them to make new friends by attending cooking sessions at the Soft Touch Arts Kitchen. The beneficiaries share recipes and cook together using ingredients sourced from foodbanks and inexpensive vegetables on sale at Leicester Market.
Some of the group who then volunteered to get involved with the Toastbusters’ street food stall in August at LCB Depot were able to receive their Food Hygiene qualification.
Thanks to Dimblebee Catering, the volunteers’ new credentials mean each are able to start their own catering business or work in kitchens if their leave to remain in the UK is granted.
So far, four volunteers have gained their certificates and more are to follow in their footsteps as the year progresses with the help of Dimblebee’s.
One Toastbusters success tells the story of volunteer Linton, who came to the UK from Zimbabwe. Linton worked in the Soft Touch pop up café for a year and helps to run the Toastbusters project.
He has now received his leave to remain in the UK. The Food Hygiene certificate and experience he has gained at Soft Touch Arts will help him to get a job in the catering industry and the charity will soon be able to pay him to deliver some of their cooking projects and events.