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Changing lives through Cook & Eat sessions

THE QPR Trust celebrates its 10th birthday on Monday and over the last couple of weeks we have been showcasing some of the things we’ve done.

Gemma Murphy originally came to some of the QPR Trust’s Cook & Eat programmes five-years-ago as a single Mum lacking in confidence. She now finds herself working for QPR Community Trust and in her own words ‘believes in her future’ because of her experience at these sessions.

Gemma is a fantastic example of a person from the local community coming to QPR and finding a home which has allowed her to flourish.

She spoke to www.qpr.co.uk earlier this year where she told us of how her journey at QPR started and how it’s lead to her becoming an employee for the club.

“I and my daughter decided to attend a local programme called Cook & Eat put on by the QPR Trust on Saturday mornings, where we literally cooked and ate like a big group and learnt different food types,” explained Gemma.

“It had a lot of an impact because it gave me and my daughter important bonding moments. Also I traditionally only cook African food at home so going into the school she wouldn’t know different food groups. This allowed us to cook different things and brought her into the kitchen.”

Gemma and her daughter continued going to these sessions throughout the years, becoming familiar faces at QPR. The project was not only benefiting her cooking skills but more importantly, gave her confidence to express herself in other areas of life. She developed close contacts and friendships with the QPR Trust employees which ended up leading to a job opportunity.

“I met one of the QPR Trust staff members Pablo Blackwood at an event and I explained to him that I wanted to start working again, but was not sure which area having been unemployed for so long and being a single Mum. He said I think I might have something I could get you involved with but I walked off thinking ‘ok that’s very kind of him’ but did not expect too much.

“Within a couple of days, I got a phone call saying there was a project being held at Wormwood Scrubs called Parents on the Ball that he felt I could be a part of. He said he wanted me to go and assist him on one of the sessions to which I agreed and had to go through lots of training in prison.

“I ended up getting security training done and loved it! I learnt so much, not just about the job but about myself. I didn’t feel I had enough of a skill-set but the QPR Trust showed so much faith in me and that meant everything. I am now in a position to deliver my skills on a paid capacity.”

Gemma believes that going to the Cook & Eat sessions five years ago was one of the best things she’s done and praises QPR’s ‘special’ connection with the community.

“QPR has changed so many things for me. My daughter is a huge QPR fan as well so she’s really proud of me and loves telling people I work at QPR!

She added: “My skill set has gone up and up and up. My confidence has increased and I see there is more for the future for me and that’s thanks to QPR Community Trust.”