Co-op Member Pioneer – Ready Steady Cook

The Community Wellbeing Index provides me with well targeted information to focus my work where it is truly needed in the community

Caroline Beardsmore, Co-op Member Pioneer for Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Mytholmroyd and Ripponden

Providing support where it is most needed

I work as the Member Pioneer for Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Mytholmroyd and Ripponden and regularly consult the Community Wellbeing Index (CWI) to highlight areas of need across the communities that I work in.

I recently used insight from the CWI at a meeting of one of my local community forums, where social issues including food inequality were being discussed.  The Index highlighted that this particular community had scores that were well below the UK average for housing, employment, education and health.

This led to a further meeting with local cause Calder Community Cares, to discuss how food inequality could be tackled across the area, in a way that would be fun and educational for the whole family.

Ready, Steady, Cook!

We decided to hold a Ready Steady Cook Off event, which would provide food to families in need of support, whilst enabling them to learn new skills, encouraging participation in cooking using inexpensive yet healthy ingredients purchased from the Co-op. 

The event took place at Cornholme and Portsmouth Library. I took on the role of cook, alongside my husband Hassan who is a chef. We used the familiar show format but with a twist, demonstrating how to cook a two-course meal whilst producing 70 meals which were distributed across the local community. We also created event bags, which included score cards, recipes, links to the local food bank and information about Calder Community Cares.

The following week, families who had been involved in the event selected some food, and working with the local Co-op received ingredients and activity sheets to complete their own Ready Steady Cook Off at home.  

The activity was a great success and has now been expanded - I recently delivered the same event at a local primary school, where a class of Year 6 children took home recipe sheets and food that they had cooked that day at school, to share with their families.

The whole process was filmed by a professional film maker and will be shared on social media to bring to life what the Co-op has been doing to support local communities, whilst encouraging people to sign up to our online community platform Co-operate and to apply for funding through our Local Community Fund.   

 By Caroline Beardsmore, Member Pioneer for Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Mytholmroyd and Ripponden

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