Derby healthy eating project shortlisted for award

A Sova healthy eating project in Derby has been shortlisted for a Community Achievement Award.

Housing association Riverside and Sova secured funding through Public Health England (PHE) to deliver ‘Healthy Food, Healthy Communities’.

Families from Derby’s City Point estate took part in the first batch cooking scheme of its kind. Residents learned how to prepare and batch cook healthy, cheap, tasty meals over four week courses. It was a fantastic opportunity for people to help their neighbours while gaining knowledge
and skills, including a food hygiene certificate.

Sova was responsible for delivering the cookery and mentoring sessions and enabled 62 people to take part in sessions:
• 24 adults took part, and 38 young people (under 18).
• We engaged with a total of 23 family groups (at least one parent and one child).
• 46 sessions took place between November 2014 and March 2015
• 8 homeless individuals attended a taster session at Centenary House, creating a total of 30 meals to share with fellow residents.

We quickly established that providing transport (taxis and bus fares) and a crèche were essential to encouraging attendance. Children became a core part of the beneficiary group in order to engage their parents, and we created tailored sessions for them accordingly, allowing their parents
to participate fully.

In total participants created 382 surplus meals which were given to elderly and vulnerable neighbours or family members, nominated by participants, and to residents of Centenary House, a Riverside homeless housing scheme in the city.

Some quantitative data showed that
• 73% shopped differently since attending the sessions
• 87% budgeted better since attending the sessions
• 87% saw an impact on their children

Participants Comments
‘I felt so isolated until I came here & now I have new friends & learnt how to cook better’

‘I now bulk buy to cook more fresh food then freeze them’

‘I didn’t know healthy eating was affordable, I thought it was expensive but coming here has shown me it’s not.’

‘My kids don’t eat veg & fruit at home, but they do here, I will try & do the same at home.’

‘My kids love coming & making healthy snacks, they eat carrots, beetroot & salad.’

‘‘More aware of illnesses due to poor diet, we understand more now of what is on the news & has helped towards changed attitudes.’

“It reminded me of when we used to prepare food together chatting and then sitting down to eat together”