We help companies to achieve their social value aims

When Ashe Construction embarks on a project, it’s not just about building outstanding facilities for schools, hospitals and businesses. All projects should leave a wider impact on the community where Ashe has been at work.  Whether it’s providing employment for the local labour force, using local suppliers or helping to teach pupils about careers in construction, adding social value is embedded into every scheme.

Livingstone Primary in Bedford is located near several projects Ashe has recently undertaken so when community interest company,  Food etc, approached Ashe for help to fund a series of workshops at the school, Ashe was eager to get involved.

‘Don’t Just Eat Just Cook’ is the message from Food etc. Through its workshops, people can get together and improve their eating habits by learning how to shop efficiently, and quickly prepare and cook delicious food using fresh, healthy ingredients and simple recipes.

There are many children from disadvantaged backgrounds at Livingstone Primary School. It has twice the national average of pupils receiving free school meals and many of the pupils are from minority ethnic backgrounds, speaking English as an additional language. The school also has more than the national average of pupils with disabilities and special educational needs.

Food etc director Julie Clay said that Livingstone School is exactly the environment where the workshops can make a positive difference: “There’s a huge amount of fun and pleasure to be had from cooking and eating together, and if you learn the basics when it comes to shopping and cooking, you can eat very high quality and nutritious food for a fraction of the cost of processed, pre-packaged or take-away food. Our mission is simply to empower people to be able to eat cheaply and healthily by cooking for themselves.”

Pupils and parents who attended the cookery workshops enjoyed the opportunity to cook together, trying out new recipes as well as being able to make familiar dishes from scratch, using fresh ingredients.

Helena Price, pupil premium champion at Livingstone Primary said: “It gave the children a chance to make new friends and also for parents to get to know each other, thereby strengthening our school community. It also gave parents an opportunity to meet with some school staff who came along to help at various sessions, breaking down barriers and improving parental engagement with the school.

“Some children went on to try out the recipes at home, so that the whole family also benefited from what they’d learnt. The sessions were very well organised and led by a member of Food etc who was great at engaging both parents and the children in the preparation, cooking and washing up!”

Andrew Morris, business development director at Ashe said leaving a positive legacy when a project is handed over is really important to the company. He said: “Food etc’s workshops enable those from disadvantaged backgrounds to learn the basic skills that will stand them in good stead for a lifetime. We are really happy to support the workshops and for a relatively small sponsorship, we can make a big difference to the health and welfare of many families in the area.”

The workshops at Livingstone School have been such a success that Ashe will be sponsoring further workshops this year.

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