Volunteers urgently needed for ‘Oatcake’ heritage project

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Volunteers are urgently needed to help disabled young people, in and around Stoke-on-Trent, to deliver a heritage project about one of Staffordshire’s most famous culinary delights.

Caudwell Children, the Staffordshire charity who provide practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, has received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to create a Young Roots Project about the humble Staffordshire oatcake!

The project, which will start in October 2014, will bring together local volunteers and disabled young people, to create a touring exhibition explaining the history of the delicacy, and its importance to the local community.

The project has been designed to be produced by young disabled people who are described as NEET (not in education, employment or training).

Many disabled children have little opportunity to attend leisure activities out of school, and are often socially isolated. Many have poor school attendance records and their educational attainment is low. As a result they have low self-esteem and few aspirations, and many become classed as NEET.

The ‘Oatcake Obsessions’ Project will include a series of short break activity programmes based around the history of the oatcake, and will help participants learn new skills such as: research techniques, creative writing, photography, film making, performance arts, cookery and media.

At the end of the programme, which will also include learning through workshops, trips and site visits, participants will have created a touring exhibition that will enable local people to learn about their local heritage.

Diane Greaves, Short Breaks Activity Coordinator with Caudwell Children, said:

“This is a fantastic project that will not only inform and entertain the public, but will also instil knowledge, confidence and a positive attitude in the disabled children who take part in it. But in order to make it happen we need a team of enthusiastic volunteers.”

Although Diane says that it would be great to hear from people with experience in exhibitions, film and photography she is keen to stress that the charity wouldn’t preclude anyone who didn’t have these skills. As she explained:

“We want to hear from individuals, of any age, who are happy to support a team of disabled young people in the completion of the project. Their attendance will also help to reduce the young groups isolation and develop their communication networks. It goes without saying that they will need empathy and a commitment to helping those in the group to reach their potential.”

Potential volunteers should, in the first instance, contact Diane Greaves on 01782 600431 or email: diane.greaves@caudwellchildren.com

For more information about Caudwell Children visit: www.caudwellchildren.com