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Zero hunger with Little Chefs Big Chefs

Back in 2019, the Foundation paid a visit to Little Chefs Big Chefs Cooking Workshop. The children taking part were having a ball – learning to cook and sampling healthy food in a fun way. They welcomed the team with huge smiles and full tummies.

But when lockdown began, founder Joanne Iceton had to close her popular workshops. Instead of working with families in person, she found a new way to spread the word about healthy eating and cooking.

Zero Hunger

Thinking quickly, Joanne and the team began a family ‘Cooking at Home’ project, with £2,250 funding from the Foundation’s community grants programme. Though they had originally planned to run half-term workshops so families could cook together, this was evolved to meet the same aims under Covid-19 restrictions. With support from the Foundation, the group was able to use the funding flexibility and react to the overnight limits on public gatherings.

Instead, the project sent ingredients, recipes and instructions out so that participants could enjoy cooking safely at home. The project proved to be an excellent way to keep little ones from feeling bored and helping families stay happier at such a difficult time.

In addition, a £5,000 grant through County Durham Community Foundation and National Emergencies Trust funded a brand new project: to help tackle food scarcity for those in need. The project delivered food parcels to the elderly and those shielding, who were unable to go to the shops. The grant enabled the Little Chefs Big Chefs team to purchase food, design and print recipes and pay towards the cost of delivering the parcels.

But that wasn’t all. A community pantry was launched early in 2021 to offer surplus foods collected from local stores to the public. This project is open to all – with the aim of reducing food and plastic waste, and saving people money. The centre, in St Helen Auckland, is open each Monday and Friday for two hours for people to collect food and see a friendly face.

Pay it Forward

In January alone, 441 people have come through the doors and received support. The new project also offers people the chance to ‘pay it forward’ and donate £3 to support struggling families. To help children stay well fed, Joanne has also made up 140 snack bags so far, and the project has a winter coat scheme where people can donate or collect a winter coat.

This courageous project has done so much to end food waste and make sure families don’t go hungry – hopefully its workshops will be back up and running soon.

(2) Zero Hunger (3) Good Health and Wellbeing (4) Quality Education

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Zero Hunger