We have made two awards supporting the 'Families and Food Initiative' at Dr Bell's Family Centre, Leith, Edinburgh, a community based support centre. The aim of this programme is to teach skills around nutrition, meal planning, budgeting, cooking and sharing food, for the most disadvantaged families in the area.
In 2011, we helped to fund a "cook's school", and in spring 2013, we provided additional support for the day-to-day running of the 'Families and Food Initiative'.
Dr Bell's provides a range of services for families with young children including a cafe, creche, parenting and other support groups, advice appointments and therapeutic services.
Dr Bell's aims to be a welcoming place where families with young children in Leith can get encouragement, support and advice in a relaxed atmosphere. The Centre aims :
to create a community where parents and carers get help with parenting
to achieve an improvement in parenting skills
to create a community that looks after its children and helps them to grow
to provide families with the services they need locally
to help local parents develop their skills through a variety of volunteering and training opportunities
to give children and families the help and support they need quickly
to help families to learn about healthy eating
to improve mental health in families with young children
Outcomes and lessons
Update November 2011
The objective of the "cook's school" is to teach cooking skills to many parents who did in turn not learn them from their parents. In addition, the shared activities of cooking and eating will build relationships between parents and children and strengthen family life. The school will also focus on encouraging parents to shop locally and use fresh local ingredients. All this, in turn, strengthens the life of a community.
The cook's school was formally opened by renowned local chef Martin Wishart and pupils from Trinity primary school on 16 November 2011. Supporters and friends of the Centre enjoyed some superb snacks produced in the kitchen, while Martin demonstrated some of his skills to the children. Steve Cochrane, the Centre's cook-trainer, said "we believe the social side of the work we do with food is at least as important as the health angle. Cooking together is a great way of building the strengths of families and communities". The event was also attended by the local media - see this item from STV.
Chef Martin Wishart formally opens the cook's school with a little help from his young friends
Local people enjoying learning about healthy eating at a recent course at the school
Cook-trainer Steve Cochrane demonstrates his chopping skills to local people taking one of the school's first courses
Photos courtesy of Dr Bell's Family Centre
Everyone at Dr Bell's is congratulated for their excellent achievement in bringing this project to fruition so quickly.
Update June 2013
Having been very impressed with the excellent work done at the cook's school since it opened, in spring 2013 we provided additional support for the day-to-day running of the 'Families and Food Initiative'. This will help Dr Bell's continue to run cookery classes for both parents and children in Leith, as well as to maintain their cafe and their programme of community meals.
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This page was last updated on 5 June 2013.
The Blackford Trust, c/o Gillespie Macandrew LLP (B.12891.1), 5 Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 8EJ, Scotland, United Kingdom