27 Apr 2022

The BDA is playing its part in supporting families and households experiencing food insecurity by working with Barnardo’s on a new cooking skills project. Through our Let’s Get Cooking initiative, we are training the charity’s staff and volunteers to upskill families and young people to be able to prepare healthy meals from scratch.

Driving Healthy Futures, launched today, is a result of a £220,000 donation by Enterprise through the Enterprise Holdings Foundation’s global initiative – Fill Your Tank – to address food insecurity.

With their amazing national network of more than 800 services, children’s charity Barnardo’s is ideally placed to help families, young people, parents and carers to overcome the challenges they face in accessing and preparing healthy meals for their households.

Barnardo’s partnerships team secured funding from Enterprise for a big push on supporting families to access food including an incredible donation of £100,000 worth of food parcels and vouchers. They immediately knew they also wanted to build a legacy into the project so that the impact for their communities was longer-term.

They approached the BDA, as the leading organisation of nutrition professionals in the UK, and we recommended helping their children’s services staff and volunteers to run cookery skills sessions for households without much confidence or experience in cooking from scratch. We also recommended they develop a new web resource on safe, practical cookery.

Our Let’s Get Cooking initiative is uniquely positioned to support organisations like Barnardo’s, with a wealth of expertise in tailored cooking-based interventions with proven outcomes. First set up in 2007 as a flagship project by the Children’s Food Trust - and now part of the BDA family - Let’s Get Cooking have fantastic experience in changing lives, with over three million people reached to-date.

For this project, we have created a tailored version of the Let’s Get Cooking eLearning series ‘How to run practical cookery clubs’ for Barnardo’s children’s services staff and volunteers. More than 125 people will complete this course in the project period, and go on to design and deliver cooking activities in a wide variety of settings including residential children’s homes, local hubs, children’s centres and other community spaces.

A third of course participants have already completed the modules and agree it is well-structured and easy to navigate, leaving trainers “looking forward to getting started” and “excited” about this “brilliant new project”. With kind additional funding and support from Enterprise, the modules are complemented with a series of eight videos demonstrating Let’s Get Cooking recipes or tips to help best equip the teams for the fun of live cookery sessions with a wide range of participants.

For families who can’t access one of the Barnardo’s in-person sessions, there is also an online section of tips on the Barnardo’s Virtual Family Hub. Let’s Get Cooking have provided a range of articles for this section including topics on shopping smart, how to make the most of your food, batching & freezing, how to involve the kids, and tips for supporting fussy eaters.

This hub also has some fun videos from employees of Enterprise cooking their favourite meals to help inspire people to try something new.

We have been delighted to work with Barnardo’s on this project, and equip their teams to run practical cooking sessions alongside the food voucher donation initiative. We’ll be running additional drop-in sessions for the staff and volunteers to coach them over the 12-month roll out, including topical updates such as the best cooking methods to save energy, ideas for one pot meals and how to feed a family for a fortnight.

Barnardo’s Director of Health, Rukshana Kapasi, said: “We approached the BDA as I know how passionate they are about helping all families access and eat healthier foods. Our programme managers, children’s services leads and relationships team have really valued their contributions to the delivery of Driving Healthy Futures, in particular the high quality of the materials they have designed and delivered, and the huge expertise of the Let’s Get Cooking team in practical cookery skills.”

For more information on this project, or to find out more about The BDA’s Let’s Get Cooking services including eLearning, our face-to-face ‘train the trainer’ activities, food demonstrations for your team, or custom recipe development, please contact us at info@bda.uk.com.

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