New research from the University of Exeter shows that the Food for Change programme, which uses growing, cooking and trading activities to inspire change, is making a huge difference to people’s lives across Cornwall.
With activities such as learning to cook nutritious meals, growing ingredients from scratch and volunteering, people on Food for Change have the chance to learn practical skills, meet other people in their community and even find new employment opportunities.
The research from Exeter University also indicates that the programme is beneficial in other ways, with most people reporting a big increase in confidence – helping them to become more proactive and take on new challenges.
In addition, the research suggests that people are making healthier choices in their lives and have greater levels of physical and mental wellbeing after participating in the programme.
Dr Rebecca Sandover, Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, said: “Our research to date shows that Food for Change is helping people to make important changes in their lives. The supportive nature of the programme, delivered through engaging food-related activities, helps people to develop essential skills.
“Our analysis so far also indicates that this helps people to improve their wellbeing by combating isolation, building self-confidence and developing a positive approach to future work-related opportunities.”
Emma Pate, Food for Change Programme Manager, said: “We’re delighted with these findings. We started Food for Change because we wanted to break down barriers preventing people from reaching their full potential, and knew that food provides the magic ingredient to bring people together, learn tangible skills and make healthier choices.
“Food for Change has been so successful that we’re expanding the programme into two new communities – Bodmin and Falmouth – this autumn. We’re really excited to be providing the opportunity to learn and develop with Food for Change to more people across Cornwall.”
Food for Change has supported more than 250 people in Truro, Camborne, Pool, Redruth, Newquay and St Austell. Now, people in Bodmin and Falmouth can take part too.
Along with the chance to take part in a range of hands-on activities, people on the Food for Change programme can also go on inspiring taster days and work experience placements to get a feel for the range of employment opportunities on offer in Cornwall. Participants are also matched with mentors to help guide them through the programme, gain confidence and reach their goals.
Food for Change is a completely free programme from the Cornwall Food Foundation. Funded by the European Social Fund, Food for Change is open to anyone who is not currently in work in either Truro, Camborne, Pool, Redruth, Newquay, St Austell, Bodmin or Falmouth.
For more information about Food for Change and to register your interest in the programme, go to: https://www.cornwallfoodfoundation.org/getinvolved/food-for-change/ or call 01872 277150.