Young carers learn to cook healthy meals during special culinary lessons

YOUNG carers were given a helping hand in preparing tasty, healthy meals during special lessons. Carers aged from 17 to 25 were handed the kitchens at Wiltshire College to try out new culinary skills using tips from experts.

The sessions came to help young people who have caring responsibilities at home and may have the responsibility to cook up the meal for their families.

Wiltshire Council’s public health team invested in the cooking sessions with Phunky Foods, demonstrating some tasty dishes with tips and advice on how to best serve up a good healthy meal.
Phunky Foods is part of the commissioned community-based programme, which has seen the service support the council’s health improvement programmes including the accessibility Healthy Us programmes, supporting
adults with learning disabilities in Wiltshire.

Carer Shannon said: “My dad tried the food and said ‘that was absolutely delicious you can cook that for me again’.”
Fellow budding chef, Joe, said his sausage casserole was gratefully received by his grandma who has dementia and receives care.
Another of the young carers, a 17-year-old, said: “I learnt a lot today, especially what is a safe temperature for cooking meat.”
Cllr Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We provide a range of support for our young carers as we know they step up and care for their families when parents are not able to do so.
“These young people take on adult responsibilities all the time which can include making meals for the family.
“We held this event to show them how they can cook healthy meals for themselves and, when needed, for their families as well as helping to save money in the cost of living crisis.
“This will support them to develop the skills to use in their own homes, including safe food preparation, preservation, cost cutting, as well as cooking methods. Some of these young people have been asked to attend by their care coordinator as cooking is part of their caring role.

“We provide support to all our carers and we hope to be rolling this out to more young carers in the future.”
Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, the cabinet member for public health, added: “Having the ability to cook simple healthy meals is a valuable life skill, even more so for young people who have extra responsibilities placed on their shoulders.
“We’re pleased to have provided these sessions and equipment and hopefully it’s given the young people who took part that little bit of extra confidence and eased the pressure on them a little as they carry out their important role.”

The public health team also provided slow cookers for the six young people attending the event, while the Weinstock Foundation provided food vouchers.

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