Beating the Baking Blues – Kai’s Story


15th March 2014

Through our Support and Connect funding 64 Scottish projects have this week shared £9.2 million, bringing our commitment to projects helping those facing hardship to over £19 million in nine months.

Many young people are particularly affected by hardship. Based in Inverness the Calman Trust will use their grant of £215,670 to support those aged 16-25 years old across the Highlands to deal with food and fuel poverty. Their support will help more young people like Kai to cope with limited resources, manage a budget and become more confident. Here’s her story…

“My name is Kai and I am 23 years old. I’ve been coming along to Calman now for about six months and am working in the cooking group once a week.

“At first I was quite nervous coming along to the cooking group, but I suppose that everyone is a little bit nervous when they go along to something new. When I attended the group I immediately felt that it was a safe environment, and I knew that I was going to enjoy it. I like working with people in a group and the cooking group is great for meeting new people. I like helping others to learn to do things in the group, and I like when everyone appreciates the food that we produce.

Kai at the Calman Trust Cooking course“I now come along to the cooking group every Thursday – I think it is fair to say that I love Thursdays! It’s really fun and I enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would. After I’ve been to the group on a Thursday I quite often go and do some shopping and then try and cook things on my own.

“I like to experiment with cooking different types of food now, and the cooking group has given me the confidence to experiment and try new things. Last week I decided made something with aubergine – I’d never have thought to cook with aubergine before! Cooking is great – I really like the focus that cooking something gives you, and I definitely think that food tastes better when you have cooked it yourself!

“I really feel that my confidence has improved a lot since I’ve attended the group – the group has helped me to start to think about what I’m going to do in the future, and I’m definitely a lot closer now to achieving my dream of owning and running my own cafe.”

Isobel Grigor, Chief Executive of the Calman Trust added, “The Support and Connect grant will enable us to work with our partner organisation, Changeworks, to provide cooking classes to more young people in more parts of the Highlands, covering healthy cooking on a budget, using electricity wisely and well. This will extend the reach of our work, where we see young people become more confident with improved life chances, often improving their young children’s chances, too.”

Support and Connect projects by type

Calman Trust is one of 64 projects across Scotland to share £9.2 million this week. Through our Support and Connect programme the Big Lottery Fund has pledged over £19 million since March 2013 to people and communities dealing with hardship.

Here’s a full list of this week’s Support and Connect Grants for Web

For more information on all our funding programmes go to

Jamie Bird

8th April 2013

Jamie Bird had been looking for work for two years before the Jobcentre Plus pointed him in the direction of the Calman Trust. He’s now worked with them since June 2010, and been an important member of the Café Artysans team since it opened.

With the Modern Apprenticeship firmly under his belt, Jamie works at Café Artysans, still learning, and at the same time helping to train newer members of the team. He can turn out excellent plates of food and has also been involved in areas such as stock management and customer service.

Jamie’s now actively looking for work – preferably something non-desk-based such as an apprentice electrician or forestry work – and the many transferable skills he’s learnt have equipped him well for future work. He receives support from the team, searching and applying for suitable jobs, and working on his CV.

Jamie too is extremely enthusiastic about Artysans, the skills he’s learned and the benefits it offers: “It gives you much more confidence about working life. And it teaches you loads, as it’s properly structured. And it means a lot that I’ve got mates, too, working at Artysans.”

Andrew Whitehouse

Andrew Whitehouse

8th April 2013

Andrew Whitehouse is a genuine shining star of Café Artysans. Winner of the Young Shining Star Award at the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards 2012, this impressive young man has developed the outside catering operation and coffee roasting business at Artysans.

After leaving school at 17, Andrew worked in Drumnadrochit for a while before becoming unemployed. He was out of work for three months before he got the job with Artysans. Since then, he’s gone from strength to strength.

Andrew has completed his Modern Apprenticeship and has shown excellent skills and a strong work ethic. His dedication and top-class work have been rewarded with promotion.

With a particular interest in event management, Andrew’s heavily involved with the organisation of the catering events such as weddings, as well as being top coffee roaster and working in the café, shop and online sales.

Andrew says of his experience with Artysans: “It’s a great opportunity to get a qualification without going to college. You can earn while you do it, plus going from college to a job is a big step up, so this gives you the experience and confindence you need.”

Dean MacKenzie

8th April 2013

Dean freely admits he needed help to develop his skills in the kitchen when he first started out. But now he’s a flourishing young chef, confident in his abilities and able to turn out plates a professional chef would be proud of.

Dean’s been working with Calman for over two years and has been with Café Artysans since it opened in December 2010. He’s completed his Modern Apprenticeship, which covers food safety, customer service and kitchen orders, amongst other things.

After leaving school at 16, Dean went to college and did an SVQ Level 2 Professional Cookery before working in different kitchens, but he found it hard to find steady work. Dean found the Artysans opportunity through Jobcentre Plus, and he’s full of praise for the chefs he works with: “They’re the reason why we learn such impressive kitchen skills. I’m really confident as I’ve learnt from the best, plus I’ve been given loads of support to develop in the direction I want to go – in the kitchen. I want a place of my own one day.”

“We all have to work hard, but it’s not all elbow grease. It’s a good laugh and there’s plenty of banter – everybody’s brilliant. It’s a great place to start, especially as everyone’s the same age. People who start can be in their shells at first, but we know what it’s like and we help everyone out. People settle in really quickly.”