Programme offering pop-up cooking kits prove a big hit with Gateshead Children

Pop-up cooking kits have proven to be a big hit with kids in GatesheadPop-up cooking kits have proven to be a big hit with kids in Gateshead
Pop-up cooking kits have proven to be a big hit with kids in Gateshead
The scheme was introduced over half term.

Basic cooking skills for children have been introduced to Gateshead Council’s Brighten the Day programme, which looks to give children on school meals fun activities and a healthy meal when schools are closed.

The pop-up cooking kits have introduced mini cooking schools in community buildings to create hands-on food workshops and cooking classes for children and young people during the school holidays.

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A trial of the kits, during half term saw over 130 children aged from 5 to 16 years cooking their own hot lunches.

The pop-up kitchen is designed to allow 16 children to cook in one session, working in pairs. To make sure the kits are safe for all ages, they feature safe knives and peelers, and induction hobs were used as they have little residual heat when switched off.

Gateshead Council’s Brighten the Day coordinator, Gwen Young, said: “The children had a great time and without them noticing, we introduced lots of other topics from their school curriculum.

"We used maths by halving the mixture and using quarter teaspoons of ingredients, science by checking dishes were cooked using temperature probes and incorporating air into their creations to change the structure and geography by discussing the country of origin of the dishes. Some great sharing and teamwork also happened naturally. This was all in addition to the actual sensory experience of cooking and eating, which the children loved.”

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Gateshead Council’s Service Director for Neighbourhoods and Localities, Neil Bouch, said: “Gateshead Council’s Brighten the Day programme is made possible with funding from the Department for Education's Holiday Activities and Food Programme. This has operated successfully in Gateshead for eight years now, allowing the most vulnerable children to be able to access free activities and enjoy even more healthy and nutritious meals during the holidays.

"The addition of the pop-up cooking kits has gone down a storm and it’s fantastic to see the children having so much fun and learning such valuable life skills.”

Organised in specific locations across the borough, the Brighten the Day activity days are targeted at children who receive benefits-related free school meals, with a small number of places allocated to other children such as young carers, children with an education, health and care plan or looked after children.

The programme has seen children enjoy a wide range of activities including sports, theatre craft, circus skills, science workshops and much more. They all include a meal for the children attending and are totally free.

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This summer will also see a trial of a teenage project added to the programme.

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