Children North East hosting free family cookery sessions

Newcastle families are learning to cook healthy meals together thanks to a new project from Children North East, which has been backed by a grant from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Children North East is running free family cookery sessions at its Cowgate community hub on Haughton Avenue, location of its popular community café.

The project focuses on healthy eating and nutrition as well as cookery skills development, with recipe cards available for families to take away, and advice on how they can eat healthily on a budget.

Participants choose the food activities that they want to try together, with everyone in the family having their own jobs to do in preparing the meals, and they then get to sit with and talk to other families in the café while they’re eating the meals they’ve made.

Children North East is also using the sessions to help identify other areas in which its families might benefit from extra support and to signpost them towards it if they can’t provide it themselves.

The £4,886 grant has been used to cover the project’s staffing, ingredients, and associated running costs.

Founded more than 130 years ago, Children North East aims to create life-changing differences for babies, children and young people in their families, schools and communities, and works with more than 1,100 families every year to help them reach their full potential. It delivers a wide range of services, support and initiatives right across the region, from therapeutic services, mental health support and youth work through to family support, domestic abuse services and community-based support, and also campaigns on issues affecting babies, children and young people.

Billie Jenkins, communications and fundraising manager at Children North East, said: “The idea of this scheme is to share vital information with families in a sensitive, friendly and accessible way, and the enjoyment that we see everyone getting out of taking part shows how well it’s working.

“Every member of the family, from the youngest to the oldest, has a job to do and it’s especially lovely for younger children having fun and joining in so enthusiastically with their older relatives.

“As well as the skills they’re learning while they’re cooking and the time this allows them to spend together, our sessions are also helping families build new support networks within their communities, which are really important for their long-term well-being.

“We know that, for some of our families, the food they cook together can sometimes be the only hot meals they’ll get that day, so as well as the skills they’re developing and the time they’re spending together, there’s an immediate added benefit for everyone taking part.

“We simply couldn’t have delivered this project without the support we’ve had from Newcastle Building Society and it’s meant that we’ve been able to do something that we know has a positive impact on our families in both the short and long-term.”

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland offers grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities served by the Society’s branch network.

Lynn Richardson, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Gosforth branch, said: “Children North East has identified a clear community need and developed a project that addresses it in an accessible and enjoyable way.

“The knowledge and time that’s been shared will have a hugely positive impact on hundreds of families across our home city and we’re very pleased to be able to contribute to making it happen.”

Since its launch in 2016, Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund at the Community Foundation has contributed more than £2.3m in grants and partnerships to a wide variety of charities and projects across the region. The grants are estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 151,000 people.

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