A Staffordshire school has won a special award for its work to reduce health inequalities and bring local communities together by teaching people how to cook.
South Staffordshire College has been singled out for praise after launching a new Let’s Get Cooking club for young people using money raised by HealthFair through The Health Lottery.
The club has been awarded a Golden Spoon gong from Let’s Get Cooking after using cooking to provide a space for students to connect and build new friendships and encourage more students to eat a nutritious breakfast which has had a positive impact on their learning.
Ian Smith, who helps run the Let’s Get Cooking club, said: “Students lacked energy first thing in the morning, so we used Let’s Get Cooking Club to show them how much better they would feel if they had breakfast. To do this, we made and handed out smoothie samples at the Freshers’ Fair - 1,000 students tried them and took a recipe home!
“Students were most surprised at how simple it was to make and how little it costs – two factors which are really important as they begin to take more responsibility for their own cooking and food shopping.”
Following the success of the Let’s Get Cooking club, a free breakfast policy has been introduced at the college, providing over 800 students per week with a nutritious breakfast to help them realise their full potential during the school day.
Maggie Sims senior manager at Let’s Get Cooking, the country’s largest network of healthy cooking clubs, said: “Using food and cooking is a natural way to bring people together. With South Staffordshire College, we’ve seen first-hand how it can help people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, build relationships and make new friends.
“Learning how to cook a nutritious meal from scratch and on a budget, can make such a difference to people’s health, and it’s so much more fun when you can do it alongside others.”
South Staffordshire College attended the national ceremony in London where special prizes for the overall Golden Spoon winners were presented by keen cook and teaching champion Kate Bellingham, best known for hosting Tomorrow’s World and Children’s ITV programme, the Big Bang.