Life skills course deemed a success

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EVELYN.THORN@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

One year has passed since community education programme ‘‘Surviving to Thriving’’ began, and facilitator Gwynneth Butler says the progress she has seen has been ‘‘absolutely marvellous’’.

Surviving to Thriving is a free, 10›week course aimed at helping people of all ages who may want to ‘‘get back to basics’’ and manage their time, money and food to the best of their ability.

Mrs Butler described the course as a ‘‘very grassroots class’’ that trained participants to completely fall back on basic life skills and re› learn them, in order to thrive as a whole.

The course is held at the Balclutha Presbyterian Church, and works alongside the Balclutha Community Gardens.

The gardens provide cheap produce, enabling students to become confident in their creative thinking and problem›solving for basic life skills such as shopping and cooking affordably.

Mrs Butler said the course began with an assessment of power usage, food, spending and basic essentials needs and costs.

‘‘From there they work together as a team to create a plan for living for the year, with aspects like winter being considered in the process.

‘‘They aim to use as much as they can from their cupboards to create affordable meals, instead of resorting to buying takeaways and spending money that could be used for other essentials.’’

Recipes created were reviewed and modified in order to cater for and include everyone and their cupboards.

The participation and communication among the people in the class created a dynamic where ‘‘everyone helps everyone,’’ Mrs Butler said.

Seven people completed last year’s course, and this year Mrs Butler anticipated five would emerge with skills polished and refreshed.

‘‘I keep in contact with last year’s group. They all seem to be doing well.’’

Mrs Butler thanked the community, volunteers, Balclutha Community Gardens, Balclutha Presbyterian Church, Anglican Family Care and others for their support getting the programme off the ground.

Further participants were welcome to get in touch, she said.