Young people are more connected than ever - but so many of them struggle with feelings of loneliness and lack confidence to make friends. Here's a new resource from Youthscape that any youth leader can run for your existing youth group or offer to young people in your local community or school.
Open House is a fun, engaging cookery programme that facilitates meaningful relationships amongst a group of young people. Over eight sessions they will learn how to cook a range of different dishes, be encouraged to reflect upon and build healthy friendships, grow in confidence and social skills, and have the opportunity to use all they have learnt to host a meal for others.
This programme has been developed by Youthscape in Luton over the past four years and has been run with over 400 young people in different formats. It was developed to help young people who are lonely and isolated or who feel like they don’t fit in. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has also developed into a resource that can help facilitate reconnection and deeper friendships within all young people’s lives.
As a youth leader you'll need to have a reasonable size kitchen space and borrow some extra pots and pans if needed and have the ingredients ready. The eight cookery sessions are recoded on video so they're easy to follow whatever your cooking skills. Plus there are detailed outlines for each session to run activities that help explore the eight ‘ingredients’ of a healthy relationship:
Each session equips young people with the tools to develop these ‘ingredients’ in all their relationships, whilst also creating an environment where they can be practised as the group learns to cook together. The programme has been designed so that it can be run in both faith and non-faith based contexts. For more information on running Open House in a Christian context check this blog post.
The resource comes with a Leaders Guide and access to all the video materials, plus 5 Workbooks for the young people taking part. You can buy additional Workbooks as you need them.
At a time when young people's mental health is facing so many challenges, Open House is a really practical way to offer support in a non-threatening and fun context. Try it out with your youth group first and then think about how this resource could connect you with young people across your community!
An eight session cookery programme that facilitates healthy and meaningful relationships amongst young people and helps them overcome social isolation and loneliness
“Open House has helped me to feel like I’m part of something, that I can be somebody, that I’m not just someone in the corner people make fun of.”
Naomi Age 13
“An incredibly creative, practical resource filled with everything you need to get young people cooking and talking about healthy friendships and relationships. Taking part in Open House has had a significant impact upon young people’s confidence, social skills, relationships with others, and even their aspirations, and has seen many go on to cook regularly for their families and friends.”
Gemma Youth Worker
Let's delve inside
We want to ensure that teaching the cookery element of the programme is as easy as possible, and so have included eight short cookery videos which can be played on a laptop, phone, TV or tablet at the beginning of each session to demonstrate to the group how to cook that specific dish.
Take a look