We help companies to support their communities

Working with local businesses is one of the ways we can fund the courses that we run.  It also gives companies a way to give back to their local community and make a real difference even in the space of 6 short weeks.

Power Computing did just that and very kindly sponsored our course at Bedford Road Primary School.

The Background

The school is in Kempston, one of the most deprived areas of Bedford.  We’ve listed below some of the statistics that the school shared with us:

  • 6% receive pupil premium funding
  • 5% free school meals
  • 1% have identified SEN
  • 3% speak English as an additional language.
  • Many families live just above the threshold for benefit entitlement and work in lower paid jobs with limited long-term prospects.

The Course

Two of our volunteers ran a 6 week course for children in Year 5 as well as their parents.  Having parents present is a big part of what we do as without that buy in children are much less likely to take their learning through to a home environment.

The course focused on traditional takeaway foods and demonstrated how they could be prepared quickly, easily, and with much more nutritious ingredients. The children and their parents learned valuable skills and gained the confidence to try new foods and learn new techniques. As the course progressed, they all improved in their culinary abilities as well as confidence in the kitchen, food hygiene knowledge and courage to try new things.

At the end of each workshop we sat down and ate what we had prepared with the group and talked about the skills we had used, likes/dislikes and how they could make it in a home environment.  Each session then finished with the washing up, a vital part of  modelling good habits in a family setting.

The Impact

We asked the children and parents ‘what has changed since joining our workshops and what has changed about the way you eat at home’ these were some of the responses:

  • My health and well being
  • Increased cooking confidence
  • Using new ingredients
  • Learned new recipes

 

Anecdotally we had comments from the children:

  • “That was 1000% better than Macdonalds”
  • “I’ve learnt that even if you think something might be disgusting, when you try it’s mostly actually nice!’
  • “I give the burger 100/10!”
  • “I want to eat that every night for dinner’

 We also noticed that when children are given access to fresh, healthy ingredients they are very open to trying new and different things.  For instance, after each session they could sample different fruits that they might not have had before such as figs, persimmon, blueberries, pears, kiwis.  Once one child tried something and declared they liked it, this had an instant ripple effect and in fact anything we shared with them over the course was met with a little trepidation at first but by the end there were clean plates all round.

We also asked Cheryl Williams, Deputy Head of the school for her feedback.  She said ”We are a school with a high level of need in a range of areas and this leaves us short of extra capacity to run extra provision such as cooking club.  All the children that have been involved have spoken very highly of the opportunity to cook a range of meals and eat them!  The parents have also very much welcomed the opportunity to spend time in a guided way with their children and other adults.  Encouraging families to build skills such as cooking into their everyday lives is highly beneficial for their emotional and physical health.  In the current climate, learning how to cook meals from scratch for a minimal cost also supports our families to be more financially secure.  Cooking skills are very important to our children as most of them know where all the takeaways are or understand meals as being oven cooked/microwaved.  These skills are for life – so I am very grateful for your time.

Ongoing opportunities for children to receive cooking education is vital.  It is extremely difficult to cover within the national curriculum as costs for ingredients and resources are high within primary school settings.  Primary schools are not equipped to teach cooking in this way, due to lack of ovens and staffing, so any opportunity for children to cook is fantastic.”

Power Computing Director Tom Ianiri said: “Power Computing has been supplying IT products and services in Bedford since 1985. I think it’s important for companies like ours to support the local community in meaningful ways. Food etc’s work to help disadvantaged families cook and eat better is increasingly important as food costs rise. We were delighted to able to fund their cookery workshops at Bedford Road School and we intend to provide more support in the future.”

Summary

This kind of feedback from those that attended the course as well as the Deputy Head, highlights how vitally important it is to teach these skills.  Whether it’s the current cost of living crisis, obesity epidemic, soaring energy bills, the breakdown of the family unit; what we teach at Food Etc can impact all of these areas which is why it’s vitally important we reach as many communities as possible.  Without support from companies like yourselves we would not be able to provide these courses.

The sponsorship we received from Power Computing has made a significant difference and the skills learnt will undoubtedly have a positive impact on health and wellbeing for years to come.

 

If you’d like to find out more about sponsorship please get in touch.

 

 

 

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