A Middlesbrough school has been crowned a national winner at a special award ceremony for its contribution towards reducing health inequalities and bring local communities together by teaching people how to cook.
Beverley School – a special school for children with autism - has been singled out for praise after launching a new Let’s Get Cooking club for pupils using money raised by HealthImprove through The Health Lottery.
Beating off stiff competition from 19 regional contenders, the club has won the bronze Let’s Get Cooking Golden Spoon gong for helping children to increase their independence so much that they now enjoy meeting new members of the community – something which would have once caused them a lot of stress and anxiety. This is as well as giving them the knowledge and confidence to cook healthy meals for themselves.
Carolyn Hannan, who helps run the Let’s Get Cooking club, said: “To see our pupils work as a team, make new friends, chat away to people they’ve never met and have fun doing so, not to mention eating new healthy food they wouldn’t have contemplated trying before Let’s Get Cooking, is just amazing.
“I think it’s made members of the community think a bit differently too – feedback has been phenomenal and the school now seems like a really welcoming place for visitors. We are extremely overwhelmed to have won the national bronze award. After hearing the inspiring stories from the other finalists, we feel like every single one of them deserved a national award too.”
The award was presented at the ‘Let’s Get Cooking National Celebration and Golden Spoon Awards’ (held in London on Wednesday 6 February) by keen cook and teaching champion Kate Bellingham, best known for hosting Tomorrow’s World and Children’s ITV programme, the Big Bang.
Rob Rees MBE, Chair of the Children’s Food Trust - the national charity that leads the Let’s Get Cooking programme – said: “Food is a fantastic way to bring people together. With Beverley School, we’ve seen first-hand how it can help people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, build relationships and make new friends.”
Seeing everyone’s confidence grow at Beverley School’s club and knowing that they’re all taking steps towards a healthier life is exactly what Let’s Get Cooking is all about. What they have achieved in such a short time is outstanding and they truly deserve their place at the top. Congratulations to all and keep on cooking!”
Along with the awards presentation, listening to guest speakers and taking part in a cooking activity, on the day club members also enjoyed a celebrity cook-off which saw Rob Rees MBE, the Cotswold Chef, go up against ex-England rugby captain and former BBC MasterChef winner, Phil Vickery, to see who could cook up the best Valentine’s themed three-course meal.
The audience voted Phil Vickery the winner who was then presented with his very own Golden Spoon Award too.