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FareShare Southern Central recognised for work with families

Lynn-cooking-group-leader-Townsend-Childrens-Centr

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2 June 2017

A partnership between FareShare Southern Central and Barnardo's Children's Centres scooped an Early Years Awards at The Bournemouth Childcare Awards 2016. FareShare was recognised for its work providing surplus food, which would otherwise go to waste, to Barnardo's three Bournemouth centres, helping to improve the diet of young families in the area.

One of these centres is Townsend Children's Centre. FareShare provides surplus meat, fruit and veg for Townsend's Let’s Cook programme, a weekly cooking class designed to teach parents both how to cook from scratch and on a budget. The project was born out of the need to improve access to nutritional food for families who use the centre. The local areas of Townsend, Throop and Muscliff have the highest levels of poverty in the region and are in the lowest 7% of deprivation in the country. Cash flow and budget can be barriers to healthy eating as well as lacking the confidence to cook from scratch. For some, not being able to read can be an obstacle to learning how to cook.

We caught up with Tania Cutler, Team Manager at Townsend Children's Centre, to find out more about Let's Cook.

Tania, what's Let's Cook all about?

It’s about encouraging healthy eating and showing people that it doesn’t have to cost that much to do. We try to help to manage budget by saying look what you can make with these basic items.

It’s about being able to look in the cupboard and know what to make from what’s in there. One of our mums Anna* (*name changed) had been to a food bank recently but didn’t know what to do with the pasta that she had been given. We were able to help her. It’s about helping people make the most of the food that they have.

What type of meals do you make?

When the FareShare delivery arrives on a Monday, class leader Lynn gets her thinking cap on and plans the menu for that Thursday’s class based on the food that has arrived. There’s always meat, veg and something we can make a meal with.

We’ve made everything from pork joints to roast dinner to spicy carrot soup using food from FareShare. Sometimes the children might get involved too, they’ve made pizzas before.

What difference does the course make to families who take part?  

Once the meal is ready everyone sits down together with the children to eat. Eating together is very important. It makes people stop what they’re doing. While the original aim is about eating healthily, I think the most important aspect is lifting the mood of parents. Some parents have post-natal depression or are socially isolated so having other adults to talk to and interact with is very important. 

Do you work for a charity or community group that could turn surplus food into social good? Find out about Getting Food.

Read more stories of how food that would otherwise go to waste is changing people's lives.