County’s cooking groups served up essential Good Food guide

A FREE handy guide giving top tips on running high quality and successful cooking sessions is now available to groups across Oxfordshire.

The Good Food Cooking Framework was commissioned by Oxfordshire County Council’s public health team to bring together a melting pot of the best ways to ensure cooking courses are of the highest quality and cover the latest government guidance.

Produced by Good Food Oxford, a network of 130 organisations working together for healthier, fairer and more sustainable food, the comprehensive 72-page booklet http://goodfoodoxford.org/gfcf/ is aimed at organisations and teachers across the county to aid them in planning, hosting and leading sessions.

With segments on healthy eating, affordability and sustainability the guide suggests how to teach with confidence and measure effectiveness – and give groups a better chance of securing funding.

And the guide is already getting lots of positive feedback.

Anna Pitt, founder of the Dustbin Diet, is an author and speaker working in primary and secondary schools across the county inspiring the next generation to think, live and breathe sustainability. She calls the Good Food guide her ‘buddy’.

She said: “I’ve been planning and running training for nearly 30 years, so I have plenty of experience to draw on, but I’m often asked for new courses for “unknown" audiences in a hurry. That very thing happened on the same day I first heard about the Cooking Framework, so I decided to give it a test run.

“I worked my way through the framework, which helped me decide whether the session I was dreaming up would meet the needs of various people attending the course, and would also meet with the approval of the likely funding bodies, and organisations that would be involved.

“It made the task quicker and easier and one of the best things for me, as I am often working alone when planning courses, was that I felt I had a wealth of knowledge and a team behind me as I did my planning.

“I have more new courses to plan for this summer, so I’ll be using the framework as my back-up and my buddy.”

And Christine McDermott from Relish, a thriving social enterprise group based at the Ark T Centre, in Cowley,  Oxford, said: “It’s good to see a resource being made available as an introductory guide to setting up cookery courses.”

The Good Food Cooking Framework was produced after organisations involved in a focus group last summer reported they wished there had been better help and guidance on offer when they started up. This new guide has all the right ingredients.

Hannah Fenton from Good Food Oxford says “It is really tough to put together cooking sessions which follow all the government guidance that are fun, accessible and teach a range of different skills.

“Feedback has been really positive with more organisations and facilitators interested in using this framework. The framework is for people who do community cooking events and workshops, to make sure they include all relevant and reliable information so the session they offer is of high quality.”

Councillor Hilary Hibbert-Biles, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Education said: “Cooking is such an important skill for life and everyone in Oxfordshire needs to be confident to cook in a healthy way. We know that being able to cook not only saves money but also leads to a healthier lifestyle. I am proud to support GFO in implementing the framework around Oxfordshire. The facilitators are doing a great job in their communities by using the Good Food Cooking Framework.”