We’re now rapidly progressing through 2014, Spring is definitely in the air now and things are moving swiftly here at Tideswell School of Food. The last few blogs have been about food, but as we are a community led social enterprise I wanted to write about what has been happening on that front.
The Cookery School has recently been awarded a grant for £26k, over a 2 year period. Some of this money has gone towards the employment of a Curriculum Development Officer, whose role is to liaise with local education providers and build relationships so that together, we can provide educational cookery courses to those in our communities who need it most.
The rest of the money will be used to develop and expand the garden from it’s current position into what was set out in the initial Taste Tideswell bid, a community orchard which will take up any spare green space in the village and network of areas that can be used to grow fruit and vegetables, so that all can be involved in and all can share the rewards. This is really important in the education of not just the younger generation but those young at heart too. Getting hands on with the production of your food and then the cookery gives a real sense of achievement and will bring a smile to even the most ardent non-gardener.
Money from the grant will also be used to develop the garden into an educational resource, so that people can come along and learn all about what goes in to running a garden to produce food. This includes areas for hands on planting and harvesting, pruning and my favourite part, eating. By setting the garden up as an educational resource it will enable education providers to use the garden to meet the requirements for the National Curriculum 2014 Cooking and Nutrition Programme of Study.
As part of their work with food, pupils should be taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Instilling a love of cooking in pupils with also open a door to one of the great expressions of human creativity. Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables pupils to feed themselves and others affordably and well, now and later in life. Department of Education (2013).
I have taken this quote directly from the DfE National Curriculum guidelines and I agree very strongly with it. Learning to cook is very important in everyday life, we all need to eat.
What was once seen as an everyday essential skill 50 years ago has rapidly diminished into an almost lost art. I’m not talking about restaurant cookery but cookery that is accessible and affordable to all, as well as fun! That is after all what we are about here at the school.
As well as this grant we have been awarded another for 10k by the BIG Lottery fund ‘Food for Health’. This grant will be used for providing subsidised courses for people who are socially excluded for any reason; this can be through age, dietary disorders such as coeliacs, or people who are in vulnerable situations.
I am coming to the end of a 6 week ‘Introduction to Cookery’ course at Loundsley Green Community Centre in Newbold, Chesterfield. They applied to the Health Lottery and received a grant to provide cookery lessons for people in the community. On this course we have people who have come from local food banks and a charity for people who are in vulnerable housing situations. The course aims to teach people some basic skills so that they can cook their own tasty nutritious food affordably. We are looking at setting up another block of sessions as the first has been so well received.
We have some bids in the pipeline at the moment, that will hopefully come to fruition later on in the year. These grants are vital for the project and the local community and it is through these subsidies that we at the cookery school and our army of volunteers can help people from all walks of life enjoy food and the benefits of it.
We all know the restorative powers of a good home cooked meal and we should all be able to provide it.