Cefn Golau Together’s Cooking Club has delivered weekly cooking activities for children during Covid-19 through this great initiative.
It started back in April 2020 with recipes for healthy snacks that parents could make with their children, created by local nutritionist Laura from Mind Nourishing. This grew from 18 families at the start to 33 by the end of the four-week period. Cefn Golau Together then took up the mantle for the May half-term, and have continued ever since, delivering weekly recipe packs to 42 families every Saturday morning. Over the 30 weeks they’ve been running the project, they have delivered over 820 packs!
Chris Walters is the Driving Change Coordinator for Cefn Golau Together. He explains: “Before Covid-19, we had a similar cooking club as a group activity. To make it covid-safe, instead of getting together in-person as a group, we put together ingredient packs and deliver them to local families’ doorsteps.”
The recipes are tailored for children to make (with their parents’ help)! During the week, Chris looks for inspiration online and decides on suitable recipes, buys all the ingredients and splits them up into individual packs. Sometimes he gets requests for food that people remember from their childhood, like bara brith, and other times he has to tweak recipes to make them work for the cooking club. He has recently come up with a solution for making mini Christmas cakes, instead of the full-size version which has a long list of ingredients (including alcohol for the ‘feeding’ process) and can take weeks or months to mature. With the mini cakes, the children can make a batch of them and then give them out as presents.
On Saturday mornings, after splitting up all the ingredients into individual packs for each family, Chris drives round in a van borrowed from Head4Arts – a local community arts organisation – to deliver the packs.
Chris says: “It takes about three hours to visit every family because I like to stop for a chat – it would only take half an hour otherwise, but chatting is my favourite part and lets me see how everyone is doing. It has been a great way to increase engagement, because the food automatically gives people something to talk about, which helps to break down barriers.”
The group has received lots of positive feedback and engagement, and the cooking club has helped to keep Cefn Golau Together visible during Covid-19. While the cooking club itself is tailored for younger people, it has also helped create a link with older people who are involved with the Cefn Golau community garden on the estate and the group are now planning a ‘cook what you grow’ project that combines gardening with the cooking club.