Thanks to the Coalfields Community Investment Programme the Full Circle Food Project has received practical and funding support that will allow them to provide low-cost cooking sessions for young people aged 13-19, families, and older people living in the Hirst area of Ashington.

With a total fund of £9,244, the Northumberland based charity will deliver 16 x programmes of six sessions over a twelve-month period. With six participants on each course, professional tutors will provide hands-on practical cooking experiences to teach people how to manage a balanced diet with a focus on breakfast, light meals, family meals and healthy versions of takeaway meals.

Ten people from the cohort will go on to secure a level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate and will have the opportunity to become volunteers on the programme to pass on the skills and knowledge they have learnt to others that could benefit.

Manager at Full Circle Food Project, Sarah Robinson, comments: “We really do believe that the tastiest meals are those that have been prepared using ingredients you have grown and cooked yourself and that is why this programme works so well. In addition to learning new skills through our cookery courses, participants can also meet new people and give something back through our volunteering programme.

“Thanks to the practical support and funding from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, we will deliver a further 16 programmes, which will have a positive impact on at least 96 people, not taking into account their family, friends and any individuals they may then engage with as a trained volunteer.

“Working in this way means that we can offer the support that is desperately needed in our community but also create a sustainable model that we can rely on in the future.”

Development Manager (England) for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Steve Abson, comments: “We know from research that the health and wellbeing of people living within coalfield communities typically scores lower than average when compared with the rest of the country. The same can be said for skills, so knowing that these are two challenges that are being tackled head-on by the Full Circle Food Project is really reassuring.

“As an organisation, we are well aware that we need to work with charities and community-based services within our communities if we are to have a lasting impact and make the most of the opportunities that exist for those that need them the most.”