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Pop-up kitchens helping with cost of living

A not-for-profit social enterprise that teaches cooking skills, is helping people eat healthier at a low cost, via pop-up kitchens at youth centres in Manchester.

The team at Cracking Good Food teach people to cook from scratch using seasonal ingredients. They are running free classes at Manchester Youth Zone and Darnhill Community Centre, with more due to start at Newbold Community Centre this month (May). Recipes include dishes such as bean burgers, Tofu katsu curry, spring minestrone soup, and sweet and sour stir fry.

Director of Cracking Good Food, Tracey Torley, said: “The Guinness Partnership has invested an immense amount of time and finance to boost the health, wellbeing and low fuel cook from scratch skills of their residents and the wider community, which have been greatly received by the Rochdale and Harpurhey communities.

“It’s been really uplifting to see the impact it’s already having; teaching people the pleasure of cooking and how simple changes can lead to a healthier diet – like learning to make a cheese sauce from scratch rather than using a packet mix which has more salt and sugar content.

“It’s about empowering people. It gives people more control over their food choices, inspires them to try new foods, encourages them to be more mindful, and better informed about food waste, and it also helps people learn healthier, low-fuel cooking techniques.”

With the cost of living rising, initiatives like Cracking Good Food have never been needed more. Figures published by the House of Commons Library at the end of last month (April) showed inflation reaching a 41-year high.

And the 2022 Poverty Monitor by Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA) showed:

  • 144,770 children (around one in four young people) in the city-region were living in poverty.
  • 181,588 households, representing some 15 per cent of the Greater Manchester total number, were experiencing fuel poverty
  • 195,000 workers were earning less than the Real Living Wage of £9.90 an hour.

Brian Hamlin, Senior Community Partnership Manager at The Guinness Partnership, said: “It’s often thought that eating healthily is more expensive than eating unhealthily but Cracking Good Food is showing the opposite can be true, and that cooking can be simple and easy. It’s an essential life skill.

“It’s why we’re funding their amazing work so they can continue to support more people in Manchester.”

Participants in the cookery school have said they have been surprised by how much they have learned and just how tasty the dishes were.

One woman taking part, said “It was amazing. The food was delicious and the interaction with the young people was very positive.”

While one of the young people in a session, simply said about one of the dishes: “I’ll have that again, it was bangin’.”

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