A new training kitchen is opening in Truro to help people with learning disabilities gain jobs in hospitality and catering.

Recent statistics from NHS Digital found that only 5.1% of people with a learning disability receiving long-term support in 2021 were in paid employment. In Cornwall, this figure drops to 3.5%.

United Response, a national disability charity, is trying to change this trend with their service, Boscawen Farm.

The farm, which is set across several acres of land in Truro, offers opportunities for people with learning disabilities to develop skills and qualifications in horticulture, animal care, wood, and metalwork.

Now, thanks to funding from the Wolfson Foundation, United Response has been given the go-ahead to develop a training kitchen also, to offer accredited courses in hospitality and catering.

A spokesperson for United Response said: "Young disabled people face multiple disadvantages and are at risk of being a lost generation due to the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market and their education.

"This new service promises to protect the future employment opportunities for young people with learning disabilities in Cornwall."

Boscawen Farm is set across several acres of land in Truro

Boscawen Farm is set across several acres of land in Truro

People will be training in catering and hospitality

People will be training in catering and hospitality

In the first year, the new service aims to support 85 young people to gain qualifications from OCN London and City & Guilds.

The charity will also use the kitchen to help develop skills and independence for 123 people across Cornwall that already access United Response services.

Students at Boscawen Farm will be involved in the food production process, from ‘field to fork’, using vegetables, herbs, fruit and dairy produced at the farm through organic farming methods, as ingredients.

Students will also work to address food poverty in the local community by donating fresh fruit and vegetables when harvests are abundant.

Mark Dolton, Boscawen’s farm manager said: “We’re delighted to have received this generous funding from the Wolfson Foundation.

"Young disabled people are more at risk of unemployment, facing multiple disadvantages as a result of the pandemic. Our new service will open up more opportunities and will be transformative for the people we support in Cornwall."

Paul Ramsbottom, chief executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “The training kitchen at Boscawen Farm will create new routes to qualifications, employment and independence for young people across Cornwall.

"We are delighted to help United Response in their admirable mission to give young disabled people the best possible start in life.”