Barnardo’s has joined forces with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to help families eat well for less as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite across the country. The Driving Health Futures project is supporting families to create healthy meals together and has the backing of Great British Bake-Off finalist Ruby Bhogal.
The launch comes as a survey by the UK’s leading children’s charity reveals that many families it supports were struggling before the cost-of-living crisis gripped the nation. In a recent poll of Barnardo’s frontline staff, more than half (59%) of respondents said they had given service users food in the previous year (2021) because they were worried that children were hungry or would have nothing to eat.
Together the partners have created a series of seven cook-along videos, which are easy to follow and will enable families, even those who do not have much cooking experience, to try something new. All the recipes are simple to make and use widely available ingredients, and the series also includes tips on batch cooking, handling raw meat, reducing food waste and eating healthily on a budget.
Dishes include chicken and broccoli alfredo, curried cauliflower, and a butternut squash soup and are available to watch on the Barnardo’s Family Space website.
The recipes were all specially selected by Enterprise employees, who appear in the videos to explain how to make their dish and to tell the story about why they are so important to their families. And Ruby Bhogal, a finalist in the ninth series of The Great British Bake Off and regular chef on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch, also appears in one of the videos to talk about the importance of cooking and sharing food with friends and family.
As part of the Driving Healthy Futures initiative, trainers from the British Dietetic Association’s Let’s Get Cooking team trained 125 Barnardo’s staff to deliver cooking workshops with young people and families in their communities. These workshops cover topics like feeding your family on low budgets, cooking skills for all abilities, and how to cook nutritious food for the family.
Through the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, Enterprise has donated £220,000 to fund the Driving Healthy Futures project. As well as cooking workshops the Enterprise donation will also be used to offer cooking equipment and food vouchers so people can afford the essentials and prepare food for their families.
Great British Bake-Off finalist Ruby Bhogal said: “For me cooking is such an important part of family life. My mother always taught me to cook from the heart, and I love having everyone round the table to eat what I’ve created.
“So, I was delighted when I was asked to be part of the Driving Healthy Futures campaign, which aims to bring people together with specially selected recipes which have been passed down through families through the years.
“Proving that eating well doesn’t have to be expensive all the dishes in the series are created from low-cost ingredients, and there are also great tips about how to be more confident in the kitchen.
“I urge everyone to watch a video and then roll up your sleeves and get cooking.”
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Lynn Perry said: “With the ever-rising cost of living we know that parents and carers are finding it increasingly difficult to put affordable healthy food on the table.
“This is why we are particularly grateful to Enterprise Rent-A-Car for supporting us to provide vulnerable families with food vouchers, cooking equipment, and great new recipes, and also to Ruby Bhogal for helping us raise awareness and inspiring children and parents to have fun in the kitchen.”
The British Dietetic Association also worked on the project, to ensure that all the recipes on the video series are tasty, easy to make and inexpensive.
Jo Lewis, Partnership Manager at the BDA said: “Healthy eating is important for all ages, and particularly when children are growing and developing. But we know that not everyone has the same level of confidence or understanding about healthy, safe food preparation.
“The BDA is delighted to partner with Barnardo’s on the Driving Healthy Futures project to help their on-the-ground teams to empower families to provide nutritious meals for the whole family.”