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Young people with additional needs cook up a storm

18Young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are causing a stir as free cooking sessions start in Tower Hamlets.
The first session on December 9 was attended by a group of people who all worked with volunteer chef, Richard Caley to make a halal lasagne.
Aklakur Rahman, 17, said: “I’m loving the project, it’s fun. I’m having a good time and learning new skills.”
Richard Caley, a local volunteer, who facilitated the cooking sessions said:  “Food is at the centre of all our lives. Having the life skills to create a family meal is one of our greatest gifts. It’s been pleasure to be involved in a project as important as this one.”
The idea for the cooking sessions came from conversations at the SEND Youth Forum run by the council. Many young people who attend the forum said they would like to learn more independent living skills, such as cooking.
The council then ran a trial session over the summer, which was enjoyed by the young people who attended. This has now been extended to a number of sessions in the new year.
Cllr Rachael Saunders, cabinet member for education and children’s services said: “Cooking is a great way to help build confidence and encourage people to be more independent. These free sessions, that were requested by our young people, are giving them exactly what they want and need. I hope they continue to enjoy these sessions – and rustle up some tasty treats.”