Babergh District Council has partnered with a local Hadleigh deli to offer free cookery classes to the district’s most vulnerable residents.
The council’s communities team is working closely with Fork Kitchen & Deli, located on the High Street, on the new initiative which is due to start at the deli in July.
Renowned chef Justin Kett will run the free cookery classes, which promote nutritious meals that reduce food waste – supporting the council’s ongoing ambition for communities with bright and healthy futures.
During the course of four sessions, participants will learn how to prepare various meat, vegetables and pulses and grain dishes on a budget.
Following the classes, attendees will receive recipe cards and ingredients to help replicate the recipes– empowering them to make cheap, healthy, and tasty meals in the comfort of their own home.
In addition to teaching new practical skills, the course aims to reduce social isolation throughout the district. A ‘friendship group’ will be created to allow participants to remain in touch once the classes have finished – offering a chance to form lifelong relationships to alleviate loneliness.
Course attendees will also receive a slow cooker from The Rural Coffee Caravan after the success of their Cooking with Kindness Appeal, which secured generous donations of slow cookers to tackle food and fuel poverty across Suffolk.
The slow cookers will help with the preparation of healthy meals for those lacking in kitchen equipment, who may currently be reliant on preparing food of little nutritious value using only a microwave or kettle.
Cllr Derek Davis, Babergh District Council cabinet member for Communities commented: “I am delighted that our council has worked with Fork Kitchen & Deli and The Rural Coffee Caravan to launch this exciting new project – and would like to thank our partners for their invaluable involvement.
“We know that the financial and social impacts of Covid will, sadly, be felt for a while and this scheme is a fantastic way to help some of our district’s most vulnerable residents lead healthy and independent lives, both now and for many years to come.
“It’s also wonderful news for Hadleigh to have been selected as home to the project, which, along with recent improvements to the skate park and swimming pool, will play a key part in our vision for the town to be a great place to live, work, learn, visit, and experience.”
Justin Kett, head chef and owner of Fork Kitchen & Deli said: “We are very proud to have been asked to help in what we feel is something that is a truly positive experience to have come to Hadleigh and being a new business our selves really makes us want to help the community in any way possible as this is something we at Fork have as one of our key values.”
Ann Osborn, director of The Rural Coffee Caravan commented: “We are delighted that our appeal’s success enables course participants to each receive a slow cooker. With income deprivation on the rise as a result of the pandemic we are glad to be part of an initiative that will equip people to cook warm nutritious and affordable meals for themselves and their families.”
Initially, there will be two courses on offer throughout the summer – one for isolated and lonely residents and the other targeted specifically at families.
Anyone attending the family course should be aged 12 and over, however funding will be provided to help with childcare costs for parents with younger children who would like to take part.
Those interested in participating in either course should ideally be from Hadleigh or the surrounding villages, although if the pilot proves to be successful, there are plans to roll out the project across Babergh and Mid Suffolk.
Further details, including course dates and how to apply to be part of the project, can be found on the council’s website and those wishing to participate should register their interest by the end of June.