Community Outreach

The revenue generated by our Cookery School helps support us in running a range of community projects:

More Info & Book

Community Cookery

Community CookeryOur Community Cookery programmes bring new skills and a love of good food for all.

COOKBank

A 2-day course designed to identify, skill & empower communities to set up community cooking clubs.

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Find out more about our projects.

Our 2019 Commmunity Sessions Annual Summary

The 2010 to 2018 Community Outreach Cooking Summary

Current Activity

The Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance

In May 2018, 100 organisations and individuals met to address and eradicate food poverty in Greater Manchester. Food bank usage has risen by 73% in the last 5 years. Chaired by GMPA, we broke into 7 subgroups with CGF co-chairing Skills & training group, one of 7 subgroups, we’re all committed in joining forces to achieve this. From faith groups, academics, charities, counsellors, support groups to those experiencing food poverty, we’re committed. Can you join us and help?In March 2019, The Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance was born. Our vision is to expand our teaching capacity within this extended network, engaging new community members who want to be trained up to cook more. By shadowing us, it builds confidence & new skills to develop basic communal cooking events, if only to start within one’s own family.

Recognising the need for basic cooking equipment in communities suffering hardship, we addressed this by calling for a city wide cull of unwanted cooking equipment. With the in-kind support of Apex Storage across Manchester, we’re able to spread awareness of the issues surrounding poverty, whilst addressing the need, truly sustainable; for those moving on from sheltered accommodation, cooking equipment can now be provided.

The Bread & Butter Thing, Sale

Partnering with The Bread and Butter Thing, a charity that provides surplus unwanted food for a very small cost, we were able to show those in receipt of their food bags, exactly how to cook it.  Often there would be courgettes, squash, cous cous or celery in the bags, for example, that some weren’t sure how to cook.  Or if they did, they had memories of how awful cabbage or mushrooms tasted so didn’t want to use them. We cooked stuffed mushrooms with garlic, breadcrumbs, tomatoes and melted cheese, vermicelli noodles with prawns/chorizo and wild green beans, mushroom soup, tortillas, stews… and more. Never has a bag full of uncooked food become so tasty and inspiring!

Ambition for Ageing

We are currently rolling out a social eating programme for the over 50s with Ambition for Ageing with Southway Housing. Many in this age bracket may be single and without children or parents and facing social isolation. These regular sessions bring people together, reveal easy, nutritious meals to prepare and how to store it safely for later.

The Longford Homeless Prevention Centre

We continue to cook at the Longford centre, a homeless prevention centre, bringing residents who are on the brink of homelessness to cook affordable, tasty food from scratch together socially, extending it to 3 other hostels for women/men only plus families so that the belief some have that readymeals are the only affordable option, can be dispelled. Cooking from scratch can be very affordable IF you know WHAT to cook and HOW.  Feedback from a Longford resident- Robert was liked by everybody and all residents looked forward to seeing him the following week. Without Robert’s knowledge I wouldn’t be able to cook for myself. This opportunity had emerged from our collaboration with Reach out to the Community & other support groups who’d helped us create a film about homelessness, by interviewing those who’d experienced it.

We’d love to screen it again in your community or workplace to raise awareness of the issues: Facts not Opinions. Can we?

For further info please contact [email protected]

Continuing our work in 2018!

2018/19 Ambition for Ageing – Social Isolation project is designed to understand the impact of social eating opportunities on loneliness and isolation amongst older people. To do this, a series of practical social eating projects, working in 23 wards across four parts of Greater Manchester will be undertaken with partner organisations. The aim is to develop a ‘how to’ guide for future projects by capturing learning about what does and does not work.

We will focus on people aged over 50 in groups who are often marginalised and therefore at higher risk of social isolationSo you think you can cook? Unpacking the personal and political potential of cookery classes in low-income communities. A 6 session project in-conjunction to be delivered in Moston & Old Moat inconjunction with University of Sheffield, University of Manchester & University of Newcastle – focus is to prove that cooking from scratch/good diet is vital to preventative health issues: Being taught cookery skills can empower individuals to be imaginative, resourceful and healthy in their food creations, although limited academic study has explored the material, social and relational benefits that can be drawn. Taking the case of community cooking classes, this project unpacks the impacts and potential of social cooking for those from low-income backgrounds.

We continue to raise awareness of our aims and passions to alleviate and remove food poverty. Adele recently presented to Chorlton Voice (Civic Society) – Carolyn (Group Organiser) said, the scope of our activities and what we have achieved in the 10 years is mind-blowing, and so very important for the future, not just in terms of poverty alleviation but also environmental security. Please contact [email protected] so we can deliver a talk to your community group.

2017 was a busy year!

We are working with Richmond Fellowship, a women’s hostel and Hulme Garden Centre, with a view to developing stronger self-esteem and wellbeing through cooking and growing.

We returned to Manchester Food & Drink Festival’s hub, cooking with Octogenarians. Funded by the University of Manchester, we wanted to highlight the continued importance of nutrition and social interaction amongst older people.

We worked with Streetgames, a national charity, training up community leaders in how to easily feed their cohort healthy affordable lunches, as a means to combating holiday hunger. We went as far as Newcastle in the North East and Penzance in the South West with stopovers in London, Cardiff, Essex, Birmingham, Derby & Wigan on the way. In fact, even Prince Harry turned up to help!

Between 30 & 40 Chinese students, who’d just arrived in the UK, wanted to learn traditional British cooking! So what better things to cook than fish fingers from scratch (goujons!) and burgers with plenty of new potatoes and salads.

We took part in the Manchester International Festival by running a fully participatory cooking event for the public in the Whitworth Art Gallery’s grounds as part of the Gathering of Strangers event.

We’ve been busy in Moston, north Manchester, cooking with residents at Moston Miners Community Arts & Music. It’s been great cooking with families again and bringing the love of good food back into people’s lives. We’ll be cooking for a while there yet.

Salford Cooks. Now as a result of us running our COOKBank training there and following it up with individual sessions to get each community really cooking! Working with surplus unwanted food from Fareshare, we’ve certainly opened new doors to accessing good food for many. We’ve also continued our work with City West Housing Association in Little Hulton, delivering basic hygiene courses for the keener ones.

We’ve branched out to Stoke where we successfully cooked & ran hygiene courses with members of the YMCA, the Princes Trust & Arch Housing Association, as part of Shout out Stoke, again bringing young people into the kitchen to enjoy good food. Working with Stoke Council we then developed sessions where we cooked with a rotation of 5 young people each week, who in turn cooked for up to 30 of their friends. Again, tackling holiday hunger & teaching new cooking skills each young cook was sent home with all the fresh ingredients to repeat their culinary expertise at home!

We’ve more on the cards too… why not contact us and let us cook in your community?

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