Family cookery lessons for pupils and parents are being rolled out to a group of schools in the North East after initial classes proved to be a huge hit. The idea to help parents and carers learn how to cook from scratch while saving money was launched at St Wilfrid’s in Blyth, one of 39 schools in the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust.
Now sponsorship partners are needed by the Trust to help ensure the project can remain free for families as the scheme expands to more schools.
Attracting parents and grandparents along with pupils, the Family Cookery Club ran four classes over six weeks, was a massive success, and is expanding across more trust schools. Portable hobs, technical help and ingredients were all provided to ensure there was no cost to families taking part.
“We are looking for supermarkets and other suppliers to offer practical support to enable us to establish this important venture,” said Anita Bath, chief executive of the Trust. “We are also keen to develop our whole class cooking curriculum with the aim that all Bishop Berwick children leave primary school able to make a range of simple, healthy dishes,” she added.
The lessons were initially introduced at St Wilfrid’s to help families facing rising food prices along with higher cost of living.
“We were aware that more families were accessing local food banks and our own school food bank and we could see many families were not confident about making meals cooked from scratch on a budget,” said headteacher Pauline Johnstone.
The first eight spaces were snapped-up and those who took part were given recipe sheets to use at home after the sessions with a Trust chef manager who sourced ingredients donated by suppliers. Families chose the meals they wanted to cook and tried everything from fish curry to beef burritos. Some were taken home and others, like the cheeseburgers, didn’t make it out of the classroom.
“Parents commented that they learned about the huge savings that could be made by cooking from scratch,” added Mrs Bath. “One of the most important ‘takeaways’ was seeing how parents really enjoyed working with their children in a relaxed and positive setting. They also enjoyed working alongside other parents and having the chance to chat with someone they would not have met otherwise.”
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