Baking and budgeting course inspires
Helen Pulman's baking and budgeting course is inspiring many local residents to learn new skills.
The course, which teaches people to bake something new each week and offers budgeting services, is making a difference.
Held each Tuesday for the next six weeks, attendees are finding it very beneficial.
"It gives me something to do and learn," says Polly Pompey. 
The number of participants varies each week, but Helen says it's a safe place for people to come and learn new skills. 
"We have mothers bringing their little ones as well," says Helen. 
Helen has more than 25 years experience with counselling and budgeting. 
"Budgeting has changed," Helen says. "It's about building skills and encouraging people to build on what they know rather than just teaching."
"The programme is really aimed at the young ones," she says, "To give them experience and help with economical cooking."
The small group numbers help as the tutors can focus on individuals. 
"They're getting more involved, asking questions and sharing their own skills with the group. It helps to build their confidence in their skills," she says, "and they share the tasks equally. They are even starting to bring their own ingredients," Helen says. 
After they have done the baking part of the course, they move on to budgets. 
"We call it 'budget buddies'," Helen says. 
"We work one to one and teach them skills about saving. We also let them know what services are available—they really appreciate the help."  
"Weekly shopping is the hardest part of the budget," Helen says. "Rent, power, and internet are all pretty static, but the food bill changes the most."
"You can get more and less, but it is hard to cut down on food. Food is just as important a need as a roof over our heads."
The basic baking and budgeting course is held at the Pukekohe Youth Centre on Tuesdays from 10am to 12noon. For more information phone 238 5125.
Caption: Helen with Polly Pompey making a lemon drizzle loaf for morning tea.