The Larder provided more than 120,000 meals during the lockdown. Now it has been recognised in national awards for paying its young staff the Living Wage throughout their training.
A Livingston based social enterprise that offers training to young people for a career in hospitality has won Newcomer of the Year title in the Living Wage Scotland Awards.
The Larder, based at Bellsquarry, delivered more than 120,000 meals to those in need across West Lothian during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was founded in 2010 and registered as a charity in 2011, by Angela Moohan, who wanted to tackle rising youth unemployment in the county.
Its unique selling point is to use food as a catalyst for social change. Work focuses on offering a broad range of skills training for employment in the catering and hospitality industry and is aimed at young people who have found it difficult to access work because of multiple and complex barriers.
They may need to gain experience within a working environment, gain formal qualifications or, they may need training or assistance in employment skills such as CV writing or interview techniques.
The Larder provides training on employability, life skills, health and well-being, all alongside learning to cook. The café provides a space for trainees to gain work experience in the industry as well as providing a venue for social interaction and community.
The Newcomer in the Living Wage Awards category was open to employers who became accredited since December 2019 and recognises an employer who has done something that stands out to celebrate their accreditation, who has promoted the real Living Wage or has contributed in other ways to support the movement.
The Larder’s Living Wage commitment sees everyone receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.90 in the UK. The rate is significantly higher than the government minimum for over 23s, which currently stands at £8.91 per hour.
As part of their Living Wage commitment, all staff at The Larder received a wage increase, which averaged 16% across the organisation. With almost a third of The Larder’s staff being young people and adults with multiple and complex barriers, the social enterprise believes it is important that these individuals receive a fair wage to support them in their life journey and beyond.
The judging panel were impressed by the range of actions which The Larder had undertaken to promote their accreditation, including producing a video and encouraging other employers to gain accreditation.
Angela Moohan said: “Implementing the Living Wage has been an aspiration of our organisation for many years. We are extremely proud to have joined the Living Wage movement and are delighted to share our journey with others.
“We encourage our fellow employers to do the same to help create more dignified, supportive and respectful places to work across Scotland.”