What WE offer
What We Do and How We Do It
COGS Prepares 4 Life CIO supports adults who struggle with everyday life to develop new skills and confidence as well as meeting new friends and get involved in social interaction.
Our aim is to enhance peoples lives by supporting each individual to achieve small milestones in their daily lives, and to build on them. No matter how small each step forward gained is, its the first step towards the next achievement. All activities carried out at COGS Prepares 4 Life CIO reflect skills that can be transferred into everyday life. Our team has years of collective experience working with people with learning disabilities, to improve health and quality of life.
To begin with, a new member will receive an informal induction. This involves a chat about health and safety and familiarizing themselves with our training site, which is based behind Burntwood Memorial Community Association (BMCA). It is important to help new members get to know the workings of the tools and machines gently and in a safe environment therefore COGS Prepares 4 Life CIO has an agreement with the BMCA to maintain its grounds, and this is the training grounds for all gardening members. During this time the members will be under close supervision and will be offered training and support appropriate to their individual needs.
We have spectacular grounds available to us and service users will be taught how to maintain all the different parts of a standard garden in the correct way.
We have two areas of lawn for all gardeners to get to grips with:
The first area is at the side of the BMCA building, which has lawns and flower beds as well as a wildlife area, and a dedicated area where people congregate after weddings and have their photographs taken which is edged with small fruit trees and with seating etc. This means there are lots of skills needed for mowing and edging of the lawns, weeding, dead-heading the flowers, pruning the trees and keeping the area photographic.
The second area is a much larger grassed area which needs maintaining which has large banks, culverts and raised beds within it, introducing a whole host of different gardening skills to learn.
We have a brand new large greenhouse where service users learn how to sow seeds, look after the seedlings and nurture them into healthy strong plants that are either used for training in planting out flower beds, or sold on our market stall to our local community.
There are also large raised vegetable beds on our allotment where service users can learn all about sowing and growing seasonal vegetables, which they then either use in recipies in their cooking sessions, or sell on our market stall to our local community.
We also have a fantastic composting system which has been recognized as a model of ecological excellence.
Once a service user has got to grips with the basics of gardening, they will have the chance to further progress there skills by being invited to work in the community maintaining local residents gardens with Cherry Orchard Garden Services CIC.
At some point in their lives, everyone needs to know how to use a screwdriver or do some basic DIY. In our dedicated woodwork area, service users will be introduced to the basic tools that could be needed in such circumstances.
Everyone at COGS loves to join in with the woodwork sessions, and we are extremely proud of the results. The new woodwork area is a great place to get to grips with using various tools including hand and mitre saws, electric drills and screwdrivers, hammers, chisels, set-squares, an electric sander, tape measures, spirit levels, clamps and pliers. Everyone gets to use the tools whilst being supported, no matter what disability they have.
COGS Woodwork prides itself by giving each individual the choice of what they would like to design and make by first researching ideas using a tablet or laptop. They are then involved in the process of choosing which wood to use for their project, and how to search up the price of wood at various suppliers, although where possible we try to make all our projects out of recycled wood such as donated pallets and timber. When all the materials are obtained, they are then supported to make their woodwork creations, which are then sold on our market stall to the local community to raise funds for the next project!
Independent Living Skills
When it comes to living independently, one of the most important skills to learn is how to cook a nutritional meal safely and easily.
Service users will have the opportunity to choose a meal they would like to learn to cook at home, and are then supported to research the recipe, compile a shopping list, be accompanied to the local shop in the community, purchase the ingredients with cash, to help understand the value of money, and then are fully supported to prepare and cook the meal to their liking.
Other independant living skills that our service users learn are the importance of health and hygeine, Health and Safety in the living environment, and for those that would like to gain more independence, travel training is available if reasonably local to our site.
The National Lottery has been a big part of COGS Prepares 4 Life CIO over the years, and has funded many wonderful projects. One of the projects that they kick started through Awards For All is our hugely popular 'Grow - Cook - Eat' program. Although it is no longer funded by The National Lottery, we still have many other funders who help support this fabulous project!
The benefit of this project is that service users observe and learn about seasonal vegeables, how to grow them from seed, how to harvest them when fully grown and then prepare and eat the results. These are transferable skills that can then be applied at home.
The stages of the Grow-Cook-eat program are:
Building the raised vegetable beds/replensih the compost
Choosing the seeds needed for the upcoming season
Sowing the seeds
Planting the growning seedlings into dedicated vegetable beds
Tending to the plants during growing season
Deciding what to cook with any produce that is ready to be used
Harvesting the produce
Preparing and incorporating the vegetables that have been harvested into a healthy and nutritious meal. This normally includes purchasing additional ingredients to help make the magic happen!
Sit down and enjoy the meal!
One of the activities that a lot of our service users enjoy is learning how to do machine maintenance with a fully trained support worker on all the equipment that is used around the site, including our mowers and strimmers.
This gives them a unique insight into how their tools work and how to maintain the tools to keep them in tip top condition.