by Sally Hunter, East Bristol Foodbank Deputy Manager
We partner with The Trussell Trust in running the East Bristol Foodbank to provide a minimum of three days’ emergency and support to people experiencing crisis in Bristol. The Trust recognises that stopping hunger is about more than food, and is developing a range of new services to help people break the cycle of poverty. A new initiative is the Eat Well Spend Less course to help people on low incomes eat well and also tackle issues such as food safety, budgeting, nutrition and shopping habits.
This past winter the Foodbank taught a pilot course to the CCM women’s support group connected to the women’s night shelter project. Each week Foodbank volunteers Mary, Ann and Wendy and I taught a savoury recipe and a sweet recipe. We also lead discussions and activities based on that week’s theme.
The recipes included basic meals such as a simple tomato sauce to add to pasta or rice and more complicated ones such as homemade burgers. We also cooked desserts such as apple crumble and cookies. Each week the participants received a step-by-step guide for each session. These listed the recipe instruction, the cost of all ingredients to aid budgeting as well as lesson cards. After the group finished cooking they would all eat together and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment at having created meals they wouldn’t usually have attempted.
The volunteers had various positive things to say about being involved. They enjoyed seeing how the participants grew in confidence and how they opened up about some of the challenges in their lives. The participants also gave us lots of positive feedback:-
- One person was really wary of knives when she started the course, but by the final week she was happily cutting up onions.
- Another came in one week and told us she had been experimenting with the omelette recipe from the previous week and had found all sorts of things she could add.
- Another said that the course had given them greater confidence
- Another said that she was now saving approximately £10 a week on her food budget.