VOLUNTEERS teaching disadvantaged people the benefits of cooking and eating better have appealed to the business community for support.
Food etc is a Bedford-based social enterprise that delivers cookery workshops in venues including schools and community centres.
Its volunteers are keen to demonstrate how to prepare quick, nutritious and tasty meals using readily available and affordable ingredients.
“If you’ve grown up with meals being cooked at home, you tend to follow suit when you get older,” says Food etc’s founder and director Julie Clay. “But for people who had a different experience, it can be daunting to make your own meals given that cooking comes with its own terminology as well as practical and numerical challenges.”
Supermarket prices are increasing at an annual rate of 17.5%, according to the Financial Times, and government statistics show that almost two-thirds of adults in the UK are overweight or obese, a figure that rises to 72% in deprived areas. More than one in five children of reception age are obese or overweight, the figures add, rising to 38% of those aged 10-11.
“The figures make for horrifying reading,” says Ms Clay. “We are trying to break the cycle of food knowledge deprivation by empowering people with the skills and information they need to reduce their food bills and eat more healthily.”
For less than £1,000, organisations can sponsor a Food etc course and make a difference to the mental and physical health of people living in Bedfordshire. “Companies can publicise this investment to support their own business objectives,” says Ms Clay.