By Tom Moody Trainee Reporter
A PROJECT aimed at encouraging families to cook healthy and nutritious meals on a budget has launched in Blaenavon.
The Blaenavon Community Food project has received £8,400 of funding from Torfaen County Borough Council’s CreaTe Local Action Group, which is part of the Wales Rural Development Programme – Torfaen Rural Innovation Scheme.
The initiative is part of the Healthy Blaenavon Project, funded by the Town Council and Torfaen Council. It was originally planned to hold group cooking lessons for families – but has now moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Each week, families receive a box of ingredients and a selection of recipes that can be cooked for under 50p per serving, before feeding back to Healthy Blaenavon Officer Rebecca Smith in regular Zoom meetings.
“The plan is to upskill families and young people with budgeting, cooking food and trying new recipes to try and get them to realise you can eat a healthy diet for less money,” said Ms Smith.
“The funding will allow us to support the training of participants in food hygiene and nutrition, supporting people into employment and helping with our community food get togethers.
Shania and Tanaya-Shea Evans Shaw enjoying some food they made as part of the Blaenavon Community Food project. Picture: Blaenavon Community Food project
“The project will build on work that is already in place such as young people from the Hwb cooking meals for town councillors and local older residents. Enjoying these intergenerational events together works towards breaking down the barriers between the old and the young.”
For the past three months, families have taken part in a pilot for the ‘Summer of Picnics’ part of the project, where each week the families received a box with ingredients and recipes to create a picnic.
The picnic boxes also contained seeds and how-to guides to introduce simple growing activities to begin Healthy Blaenavon’s ‘Dig for Blaenavon’ campaign, encouraging people to start growing their own food and help build a sustainable local food industry.
Shania and Tanaya-Shea Evans Shaw were given seeds to grow as part of the ‘Summer of Picnics’ part of the Blaenavon Community Food project. Picture: Blaenavon Community Food project.
Mayor of Blaenavon Cllr Alan Jones said: “The project is running until June 2021, but has a long term goal – to train young people to become peer mentors and pass down skills to those who attend the youth club, year after year.
“Those young people will also have the skills to budget and cook nutritious food for their own families in years to come.”