Cambridge Soroptimists are helping young women residents at Whitworth House to build up their culinary skills by providing cookery lessons in their kitchen. Members are sponsoring professional demonstrations by expert Rosie Juhl who teaches in the Saffron Walden area.
Staff at Whitworth House suggested the lessons might help residents to make the best use of fresh ingredients by cooking meals from scratch instead of relying on expensive ready-meals. The Friends of Whitworth House provided suitable kitchen equipment.
The first menu was tomato soup and fish pie and the girls were involved by Rosie from the start – peeling potatoes and chopping herbs before making a roux for the sauce. Club members assisted Rosie by clearing and washing up, leaving her free to concentrate on the class members.
Under COVID-19 restrictions classes are currently suspended, but will restart as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.
Whitworth House has provided supported residential accommodation for vulnerable, precariously-housed young women in Cambridge for over 20 years. It was officially opened in May 1998, and since 2000 has been managed by Orwell Housing. It can be home to up to 15 residents, all aged between 16 and 25. In December 2018 Cambridgeshire County Council announced that it would not renew its contract with Orwell Housing for the provision of this service, leaving a £65,000 hole in the house’s budget. Following a sustained local campaign the County Council announced in May 2019 that it would continue funding for a further 18 months.