People with learning disabilities are getting the chance to improve their cookery skills at a new course that has been launched in Epping Forest.

The Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) charity has started ‘Cooking with Confidence’ courses at the Grange Farm Centre in Chigwell each Wednesday from 10am to 2.30pm.

Candidates can attend as a one-off course lasting ten weeks or make it a regular activity.

Those taking part will learn and enjoy a wide range of cooking skills and have the opportunity to gain an ASDAN (Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network) qualification under the guidance of a qualified tutor.

Also being launched by the charity and part of ACE Upcycling are more carpentry and upcycling sessions, offering training and mentoring.

Those taking part are shown how to make a large range of goods from upcycled wood, as well as restoring and upcycling furniture.

Working in a small friendly team, participants learn a range of carpentry skills, work on product design and marketing - all with the support of experienced staff and mentors.

All courses take place in a working wood yard in Stapleford Tawney near Ongar. Attendees can also gain an ASDAN qualification if desired. Ace Upcycling courses take place every Wednesday from 10am to 3pm.

Sally Panrucker from VAEF, who runs the Ace Activities courses, said: “We are so pleased with how these courses have been received. We can just watch peoples’ confidence go sky high as they realise that the skills they learn with us can be used in real life forever”.

VAEF’s Ace Activities provides a wide variety of day activities for people with learning disabilities. For further information on the many courses taking place, visit or contact Sally Panrucker at or call 07851 537 466 for further details.