Arun Wellbeing Cook & Eat: Case Study

Food Matters designs and delivers Cook & Eat programmes The overarching aim is to deliver a programme of courses that reflects the needs of vulnerable communities in order that they can access a healthy diet through improved cookery skills to address poor health outcomes.

The programmes are designed to reflect the needs of each individual participant group. Sessions are interactive, mixing taught elements with practical demonstrations and cooking activities. Participants learn a range of skills and techniques including kitchen skills, cooking methods, basics of a balanced diet, cooking from scratch, budgeting and shopping skills.

Food Matters is commissioned to deliver these programmes because they understand the need to develop innovative sustainable activities that reflect local demographics, need and capacity, and recognise the long term benefits of improving cooking skills, increasing physical activity levels and enhancing life skills for social inclusion and improved health outcomes.

The approach Food Matters takes to all training programmes is to focus on the participants – assessing their needs and working with them to introduce interventions that lead to positive, long lasting behaviour change around food shopping and budgeting, cooking and eating. Through our experienced staff and years of working with communities experiencing food poverty we understand the issues families and individuals face trying to eat an affordable healthy diet. We understand the barriers they face and firmly believe that to work successfully with people you have to put them at the centre of what you do. Participation underpins all our training programmes. We spend a good deal of time developing relationships in the community building trust and capacity. This develops confidence and a sense of empowerment, and helps to embed skills within the community.

Arun Wellbeing has been commissioning Food Matters to design and deliver Community Cookery programmes for Arun residents since July 2013. The hands on, practical courses, led by qualified and experienced cookery leaders, help people who don’t feel confident about cooking to develop basic skills to cook from scratch, using low cost ingredients that can be bought locally, at corner shops or the supermarkets, to create meals and snacks that are healthy and appetising for everyone. Participants taking part in the courses (over 250 in the two and a half years since 2013) include young homeless people, participants on Arun Wellbeing’s weight management courses, young mothers, ‘Dads and Kids’ groups, people with mental health conditions and many more. Feedback from participants is overwhelmingly positive:

“Couldn’t have done it without you. You have helped me find the courage I needed”
“Before coming here, I didn’t eat breakfast – ever. Didn’t know what that could do.”
“I’ve tried foods I’ve never tried before. They were really enjoyable – just amazing!”
– Cook & Eat participants

Have a read through some of our popular recipes cooked with Arun residents.

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