24. April 2019

Celebrating first six Victory Programme graduates

Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear celebrates achievements of first Southwick ‘Victory Programme’ graduates

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Margaret Fay, presented awards to the first six graduates of Southwick Salvation Army’s new Second World War-themed thrifty cooking course at Marley Park community fire station on Monday 8 April 2019.

The graduates received the honours after completing the free training programme run by The Salvation Army — and supported by a generous gift from the Kavli Trust — from its base at Austin House Family Centre on Shakespeare Street, Sunderland.

Inspired by the community spirit and resourcefulness created during the Second World War, over six weeks the trainees cooked tasty budget meals together, learnt from wartime economising and shared their own budgeting tricks while making new friends.

 VP Co-ordinator Julie Foster and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear with a new graduate.

Victory Programme Co-ordinator Julie Foster said: “The students on our first course have been incredible. Some of them have in the past felt they’ve underachieved so were pleased they’d committed to the six weekly sessions, even working outside of the programmed time to make up any missed work to graduate. We’re so proud of all they’ve achieved and in the way they’ve built their confidence and skills throughout the course.

“In Southwick, The Salvation Army is committed to helping people see their true value and worth, so we’re pleased the Victory Programme has enhanced this mission, bringing transformation to people as they cook, chat and learn from each other.”

On the day of their graduation, the students arrived early to drop off fresh dishes of food, having spent the morning at Austin House preparing favourite dishes from the course. They then invited special guest Margaret Fay to sample the fares, among which were bacon and vegetable hotpot, Victory eggs (a wartime version of Scotch eggs), bread and butter pudding and cheese, leek and potato pie.

 Cooking at the Victory Programme Southwick. 


Southwick Victory Programme graduates with Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear and Julie Foster. 

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant said: “I tried the food and it was absolutely delicious – the pastry on the pie, which I can’t make myself, was melt-in-your-mouth good. It’s always a great honour to represent the Lord Lieutenant on community visits as I’m able to learn something new each time. The Victory Programme is inspirational, using, as it does, cooking based on the war and rations as a means to give people confidence to take their next steps in life. I wish the graduates well as they prepare for their next course.”

The students shared their experiences with the Deputy Lord Lieutenant. One, a woman whose budget is particularly limited due to the Bedroom Tax and the rising cost of living, told her: “I usually do ready meals for myself and I thought the Victory Programme would be something to get me out and improve my confidence, meeting different people. It’s easy to make simple recipes in the house, so I think I’ll be able to prepare the Victory Programme recipes at home now. My confidence has really improved.”

Lindsey, who has struggled with depression and tends to isolate herself when she’s unwell, has found support at Austin House for a number of years. She also leads a couple of classes at the centre. She said: “It was easy to come to the Victory Programme as I already knew people here, and they don’t judge you – they’re here to help you and they’ve always helped me.”

The students will soon be taking part in the graduate programme, commencing after Easter, with another Victory Programme scheduled soon for young people aged 18 to 24 years old.

For more information contact Julie Foster by email at Julie.Foster@salvationarmy.org.uk or by telephone on 0191 561 8272.

Photo credits: Southwick Salvation Army

Cooking at the Victory Programme Southwick.