about us

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What is Cooking Good? 

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 England 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, pictured below delivering training to Home Start volunteers. 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.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorrainehirst/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking Good has a team of trainers/development workers who are all qualified to degree level in Nutrition. Farah Rizvi has restaurant kitchen experience, a BSc in Food Technology and is an experienced chef who has worked in Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, 15, with ex-offenders and is a committed gardener with a special interest in growing food (she is currently establishing links with community growing organisations). Farah has an adult learning background and an interest in ageing, brain health and health conditions effecting the BAME community e.g. T2DM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health-Works has an experienced data and office manager (Nicky Dady pictured above) and 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.

 

Katie Swain, is our Lead for Logisitics and Events and has brought her events management, degree in biochemistry and food industry experperience to the fore with her work on our marketing and education resources and the meal bags.

 

Who 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 BAME 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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