A community project in Horncastle which helps keep vulnerable people on the straight and narrow has gone from strength to strength since it launched six months ago.
Lee Bowman, a former chef, started the Urban Foundation Outreach Project due to the massive void in support available to vulnerable and homeless people in the area.
When it began, the project involved people cooking and enjoying a hot meal at the town’s community centre on a Sunday evening.
Since December 2018, Mr Bowman says the project has gone from strength to strength.
Mr Bowman explained: “When we started the project the idea was to use local people who have been labelled vulnerable or homeless to give them catering qualifications.
“We have taken the team on and progressed increasingly.”
Mr Bowman says anyone who gains a certificate will be able to cook meals at the centre and potentially earn money from catering for events like weddings and parties.
He points out a recognised qualification will also help people gain a job in catering which often comes with living accommodation.
Mr Bowman added: “Since December, we have had four people pass their Level 2 Hygiene certificate.
“The team has been booked for a wedding by two police officers at Woodhall Spa Manor.
“The team have also been booked for an event at Harpar’s Bar later this month.
“Weddings and events are a chance to showcase what the team can do.
“In the future, the plan is to hand this (the project) over and the team can run it as a joint enterprise business.
“We’ve also offered our services out to supporting the recent flooding.”
Mr Bowman explained that after discussions with Horncastle Town Council, if a flood alert had been issued for Horncastle then the Urban Foundation Outreach Project would have been used as an emergency shelter to hope those in need.
The project helps vulnerable people in Horncastle – and Mr Bowman hopes that in the future, the Urban Outreach Foundation Project could go on to support even more people.
He said: “I’ve got ex-addicts, people with anxiety and depression.
“Because they are helping someone else, it is keeping them on the straight and narrow.
“With alcoholics and addicts, we don’t put them around alcohol – we support them and their needs.
“I am trying to convince the probation service to let us help and take more people on.
“I want to try and showcase that this project works and can make a change.
“I am trying to highlight that this project is working.”
“Local businesses have supported us massively, including High Street Discounts and the Pop Inn Cafe.
“People have been giving donations of food and companies have even forward with potential jobs for volunteers.
“I want to thank the businesses who have backed us, and the town councillors who have supported the project.
“We work on the principles of belonging and giving back.”