A TAP participant cooks pizza at a Barnardos cooking, nutrition and hygiene workshop.

Barnardos Temporary Accommodation Program for Youth is doing what they can to “Step Up to End Homelessness” by taking young people aged 16 to 25 years who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and providing them with a safe place to stay. 

Program manager Sonya Lawler said Barnardos realises that vulnerable young people need much more than just a roof over their heads if they are to break the cycle of homelessness. 

"They need to know the basics of how to cook, clean a house and how to pay their rent on time if they are to have any hope of leading a life where they can achieve the normal things that other young people take for granted; like knowing where you are going to sleep every night and eating regular healthy meals.”

The program also provides the opportunity to attend workshops that teach living skills, lessons in cooking, hygiene and nutrition.  

Last week a group of young people from Barnardos Temporary Accommodation Program (TAP) held a farewell dinner for one of their friends. Everyone in the group worked hard in the kitchen did all the cooking for the dinner, using the skills they learned from their participating in the TAP workshops on cooking, nutrition and hygiene. 

"One of the young people told us that hunger is only an issue once you feel hunger yourself, so learning to feed yourself is learning to keep yourself alive," Sonya said.

The hands-on workshops have given young people the confidence to prepare low-cost meals that are healthy and delicious.

"There was general agreement that the cooking lessons were enjoyable and one young person summed it up saying - Pizza is always fun with more cheese.'"