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about us

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Community Health-Works UK CIC


What do we offer?

We provide wellbeing services and nutrition-based education and resources in the community, which are aimed at specific vulnerable or target groups who do not pay for these services. These services include:


  • Community cooking and food education sessions

  • Expert nutritional support to individuals and groups

  • Partnership projects to promote growing and healthy eating in the community

  • Online and physical resources to support healthy eating and cooking on a budget

  • Specific support for mental health as well as physical health


How are we funded?

We are mainly grant-funded and work in partnership with a range of agencies to offer our outcome-focused and community-based services. We also received some funds from the National Lottery. In terms of other grant-givers, we work predominantly with:


  • Local authorities, including Public Health in West Northants

  • Community groups and housing associations

  • Schools and other education establishments

  • Social prescribing and other health professionals


We also offer sessions online and in-person to different audiences who wish to learn some new skills, support a health or dietary need and can pay for these services with a donation. These include:


  • Online cook-along celebrity chef workshops and cooking on a budget series

  • Face to face cooking and wellbeing-related workshops


What makes Health-Works different?

  • Led by qualified Nutritionists, who have experience of working with and in the community

  • Our approach within the community is flexible - aiming to meet people ‘where they are’ with their lifestyle, cultural or religious influences, their budget and their mental health.

  • We promote independence through food education and enable people to take responsibility for their own health.


What are our principles?

  • We believe everyone should have access to healthy food which enables them to live a healthy, active and productive life.

  • We understanding we are all individuals and respond differently within any situation.

  • We encourage open and honest discussions - whilst respecting the diverse communities we live and work in. 


What is Cooking Good?

Cooking Good is a community cooking project under the umbrella of Community Health-Works UK CIC that promotes:


•Home cooking skills and cooking on a tight budget

•Making the most of the food supplied, reducing waste, cutting the cost of food shopping and cooking

•Cooking wholesome, healthy meals that will support peoples’ physical health and mental wellbeing. 


What are Cooking Good’s Aims: 

To improve overall health and mental wellbeing at the same times as addressing food insecurity and inequality; we believe that everyone has the right to a good food and the right to the resources to enable them to eat a healthy diet.


Our Objectives:

•To improve health outcomes for individuals or groups

•To increase people’s confidence with cooking

•Increase meals cooked from scratch per week

•Make food go further and reduce food waste

•Alleviate stress that is associated with food insecurity or lack of cooking skills

•Remove isolation and improve mental wellbeing






The Oakleaf Group were recently awarded a nursing times award for the tier 2 weight management project ‘The Oakleaf Wellness Buddies’ that we implemented this year following the pilot [delivered by Community Health-Works] and have transferred through our services. This has been a project that has been greatly received and beneficial for our client group, adult males with acquired brain injury, and the staff that support them.’ – Oakleaf Care


‘The impact is not just for the period of the scheme, but so much more. Building relationships between parents and children by cooking together, working as a team, adding to their life skills and having a sense of achievement. With an added bonus of a well-balanced nutritious meal served, eaten and enjoyed, when in reality, a full meal isn’t always available, due to their financial circumstances and cooking confidence.’ -Claire Hamilton, St Barnabus School, Northampton



Further information:

Cooking Good works directly with wellbeing services and schools to offer cooking sessions and meal bags to aid cooking from scratch. We also work with local food banks and community larders, fridges and other food aid or community organisations in Northants to support local people with the skills they need to cook, store, reduce waste, etc, with the food being distributed via food aid and provides some ‘top-up’ essential items to enable dishes to be made e.g. herbs, spices, stock cubes, as well as creates online and physical resources and handouts on advice about cooking on a budget, savvy shopping, encouraging other household members to help with cooking. Those attending Cooking Good sessions often take home food and extra equipment if needed to cook that dish at home, thereby providing practical access to food as well as the skills and equipment to know what to do with the food supplied. We have also created ‘meal bags’ as part of this service, CG supplying recipe cards and advice sheets to help people to feed themselves or their family for a few days with the contents. 

The skills being shared by the Cooking Good Team and volunteers are essential ‘life skills’ and can promote positive mental health, which in turn will enable individuals to be in a mental place where they will feel able to seek additional advice and support. Practical signposting and referring to voluntary and council services for additional long-term support will form part of the service (e.g. CAB, social services, 0-19 services, school services, volunteer bureau transport services, mental health services including eating disorder services, social prescribing, etc). 


Cooking Good is a healthy eating project led by Health-Works. There are a number of partnerships involved with Cooking Good, including, originally, Northamptonshire Health and Wellbeing Board, Home Start (Daventry and South Northants), snvb, Sofea, Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and Grand Union Homes. More recently Cooking Good has been working with food aid alliances and individual food aid organisations and community groups in West and North Northants, Northampton Partnership Homes, Right Resolution, various Leisure Centres, schools in deprived areas, NACRE and growing and sustainable food alliances. Together we are funded by Public Health and other local grants to deliver food education, healthy eating, weight management, lifestyle change programmes and home cooking experiences to families and different groups, including housing association clients, those about to be released from prison, young people leaving care, those experiencing mental health issues and more.

The original project aim was to help families cook straight-forward family meals by providing teaching sessions in small groups in accessible venues or in families’ own homes. However, given the Coronavirus crisis we quicky adapted and found alternative ways to reach the families and target groups with ideas and tools to help them cook more nutritious meals on a limited budget. By creating useful cooking videos and online easy-to-cook recipes, and offering meals in a bag with recipe cards via various agencies providing vulnerable people in the community with food during the pandemic, we have been able to expand our reach and develop new services to further our aim to reduce health inequalities and support people to sustain their own wellbeing.


More recently the programmes developed include delivering trainer training to weight management peer support groups and Holiday Activity Fund providers for the food element of the HAF for NSport.  This is about capacity building, developing resources and support for these providers so that they can offer the necessary food eduction, including an element of growing and food sustainablity, to their client groups.


Who are we? 

The two senior consultants and qualified Nutritionists who founded Cooking Good are Lorraine Hirst and Louisa Gregory. Today, the core team is made up of the the following:














Lorraine Hirst is a qualified Nutritionist (a masters level Post-graduate diploma from South Bank University) and health coach, with interests in food psychology and disordered eating. She has 35+ years background in local government, the PVI and Health sectors. With an MA in Policy and Management of Care Services, Lorraine has in recently lead large-scale programmes in learning and development  (Oxford Health), managed a national training department and recruited and managed teams of staff and volunteers in the voluntary sector, and managed various community health-related projects and community grants. She is a seasoned change manager, project manager and has budget management experience of over £3million.


Cooking Good has a team of trainers/development workers who are all qualified in Nutritional Science.





Donna Lowe has a BSc in food technology, substantial food industry experience including sales and marketing and teaching experience. She now runs weight managment programmes with various groups, inlcuding men and women with mental health issues. The team are adept at running workshops in the community (including delivery of work-based qualifications) in order to support people to cook healthily on a budget, lose weight and improve their mental health with over 40 years experience between them. Two of the team also work privately with clients with chronic health conditions.












Jamie Whitehall is a current PhD candidate at the University of Bedfordshire in the Institute for Health Research (IHR) and Institute for Sport and Physical Activity Research (ISPAR) with a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science on a scholarship working with Flying Start Luton. His previous research has been on obesity and weight management I both adults and children, and has extensive knowledge of service evaluation. He has previous experience creating, delivering, and evaluating Tier 2 weight management programmes across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire. He specialises in behaviour change and is a current visiting lecturer and unit co-ordinator at the University of Bedfordshire in the three following modules: Professional Skills for Healthcare Providers (MSc), Behavioural Science and Public Health (MSc), Introduction to Health Psychology and Counselling (BSc). Jamie has previously worked in primary care as a health coach and social prescribing link worker across 4 GP practices.


Caroline Smith is known as the Functional Hygeinist. Caroline has a drive to share simple and practical oral wellness techniques so you can take back ownership of the health of your mouth. Caroline is a practicing Dental Therapist and Nutritional Therapist and has a true passion to share knowledge for the greater good. 

Please find her on Instagra @thefunctionalhygienist or contact her if you wish to stay in touch.

Health-Works has a team of trained volunteers who are a mix of qualified educators, home cooks, chefs and healthcare professionals from a range of backgrounds, ethnic origins and LD and ESOL experience. All have up-to-date Food Hygiene, Advanced Allergens Awareness and DBS certificates. CHW has appropriate insurance and polices in place to meet the grant requirements.

Who else do we work with?

Cooking Good has been working closely with food aid and sustainable food partners in the West and North Northants (FAAWN and North Northants Food Aid), specifically with meal bags and community cooking provision and resources, including Community Larders in West Northants, churches and groups such as Impact Now, Food Aid Far Cotton, United African Association, Castle Hill Reform Church, Daylight Centre, Victoria Centre in Wellingborough, volunteer bureaus including snvb and Daventry Volunteer Bureau, Home Start Daventry and South Northants, Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH), Grant Union Housing Group, Right Resolution, several sports and leisure providers across the county, particularly Rushden and Corby and networks such as Kettering Volunteer Network, Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire and Northamptonshire VSCE Assembly and Northampton ACRE. Schools in areas of need have also been worked closely with, including meal bags interventions and cooking classes for targeted families such as Towcester CE Primary School and St James Primary School in Northampton. Cooking Good has previously worked with 0-19 service, Healthy Lifestyles Team, Wellbeing Teams in each local council, Adult Learning and other statutory services, as well as the Health and Wellbeing Forum in South Northants.


Cooking Good are working effectively with several community partners via the healthy eating focused Tier 2 Weight Management Train the Trainer programme, including various ethinic groups and those working with people with Learning Difficulties and brain injuries. Social prescribing are colleagues are involved in this programme. Specific focus groups for BAME and LD groups have been set up to further support these healthy eating and growing with these groups. We are also currently working with VIN around a wellbeing offer to HMP Five Wells prisoners.


Community Health-Works UK CIC also currently has a large project offering online and in person physical wellbeing services to Stonewater Housing clients via a grant from the Longleigh Foundation which include healthy eating and cooking. We have recently been awarded a contract by West Northants Council community grants to deliver cooking life skills classes to NPH and Right Resolution. This project is exciting and further enables the Cooking Good initiative to reach and support formerly homeless individuals and care leavers. The programmes begin in early June 2022.

Contact Us to find out more or browse the site to discover simple and hearty recipes (that are also a bit healthy!) and other useful information for those cooking on a budget or looking to make some healthy changes or improve their own wellbeing or that of their family.

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