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Cooking in the community

Updated: Jul 4

GCDA has been running 'A Taste of Health' Cookery Clubs in the Greenwich area for almost a decade and in the last year alone has supported almost 700 people to cook simple, healthy and tasty dishes. The clubs, which are funded by Royal Borough of Greenwich, are incredibly diverse, with all six tutors and more than a third of those attending, coming from ethnic minority backgrounds.


Those taking part in the clubs learn ways of cutting down on the amount of salt and fat in their diet, and also become part of a community - those attending the clubs eat together after they've cooked their meal.


Kafilat (pictured far left next to Fay Livingstone who runs the programme) came to the UK from Nigeria in her late twenties and settled in Southeast London where she lives with her husband and their five children. She’s a full-time mum and has always been interested in food. As well as bringing up her kids, she’s an active volunteer.


 

Kafilat spoke to GFiG about why she became one of GCDA's Cookery Club tutors.


“When I first arrived in England,” remembers Kafilat, “it took me a while to get used to eating unfamiliar foods. I was happy with my traditional dishes. However, my husband always encouraged me to eat more vegetables, and over the years I’ve adapted. I’m always learning new things.”


Kafilat took a free 12-week course which trained her to become a Cookery Club facilitator, and then about three years ago, she was employed as a tutor on GCDA’s Cookery Clubs in Greenwich. She says that her background is a real asset.


“The training taught me about healthy eating," says Kafilat, “and I can now pass that message on myself more effectively. It helps that I’m able to speak the same language as some of the people who come to our clubs, and I know what sort of food they cook at home. I’m a role model myself. Although I’ve never really eaten junk food, I’ve adapted my diet to make it healthier and I’ve given up certain things as well."


Kafilat, like all GCDA’s other Cookery Club tutors uses The Eatwell Guide, which outlines the recommended amount of different food groups that should appear on your plate in order to achieve a healthy balanced diet.


“The Eatwell Guide  comes in several different languages,” Kafilat explains, “and it’s something that everyone can apply to their meals. We also have a GCDA cook book which contains a range of (simple-to-make) healthy recipes that people can try at home. It’s helped me to appreciate new dishes, which I also make with my kids."


Becoming a Cookery Club tutor has also led to Kafilat discovering her creativity. "I've developed a love of gardening and food photography as a result of my involvement. These things have given me so much pleasure. Becoming a Cookery Club tutor has definitely come with extra smiles!"


What our learners say:

"The Cookery Club was very educational and informative. The sessions have helped to inspire me to cook and shop for my ingredients. Thank you to Kafilat for her patience and kindness to us all."


If you're interested in learning more about GCDA's 'A Taste of Health' Cookery Clubs please get in touch on 0208 269 4886 or contact Fay Livingstone by email fayl@gcda.org.uk

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