Young carers from the South Tyneside region have spent the summer holidays acquiring valuable skills at cookery courses arranged by the Cooking for Life project.
Young carers are often required to take on many of the roles traditionally played by parents. These can included completing the weekly shop and preparing meals for the entire family.
Shopping and planning meals on a tight budget can be very challenging so the cooking courses offered to members of South Tyneside’s Young Carers Scheme have been really helpful.
In addition to teaching the youngsters how to cook, the cookery courses also focused on explaining how to use the kitchen equipment, the importance of a balanced diet and also how to stay safe.
Interaction with the group and social skills were also an important aspect of the project. The youngsters were able to relax with friends and enjoy the meal that they had helped to prepare.
Members of the Cooking for Life project have been working with youngsters in the area for the last ten years. A spokeswoman for the project, Joyce Greely explained that the North-East is unfortunately one of the least healthy places in the UK, with rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease rapidly increasing.
By the time that they leave home, many young people lack basic food knowledge and are unable to prepare simple balanced meals themselves. Many fail to recognise the importance of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Without additional help, this lack of basic skills and unhealthy lifestyle is likely to be passed onto their children. It is for this reason that the Cooking for Life project was established. It aims to teach young people and their families how to prepare great tasting meals that are also cheap, healthy and nourishing.