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Trust Links get a little help in the kitchen from Jamie Oliver


A few of our REACH Recovery College team have learnt how to make the most of surplus food donations and minimise food waste after taking part in the Tesco Community Cookery School with Jamie Oliver.

Our REACH Recovery College aims to improve the quality of life for people living with mental health conditions. This is achieved through training and support to help people learn how to boost their wellbeing, and manage their mental health in a proactive and practical manner. This includes learning about nutrition and eating well for a healthier mind and body.

During the course, our team learnt everything from knife skills and nutrition, to recipes for versatile base sauces, which can be adapted to compliment a wide variety of donated food. The training was free and attendees received cooking equipment, plus a folder of Jamie’s Oliver’s recipes.

Choice, a Reach Recovery Worker, said: "Learning how we can turn food donations into nutritious meals, and how to minimise food waste was invaluable. We work with many disadvantaged people, so supporting our local community to make healthy choices at minimal cost is very important to us."

At Trust Links, we are just one of 7,000 charities and community groups to receive free surplus food from Tesco stores via food distribution charity, Fareshare, under the supermarket’s Community Food Connection scheme. The cookery school, launched in January of this year, helps to provide the community cooks with the food knowledge to make use of whatever is in the donations that arrive at their kitchen door – whether it is a bumper donation of seasonal produce or more unexpected ingredients.

Jamie Oliver said: "This is exactly what this programme is all about – learning new skills in the kitchen that can be passed on, all while helping to fight food waste. We want to give loads more amazing community cooks the confidence to create delicious, balanced meals from food that would otherwise have been thrown away. It’s about empowering charities with the knowledge and tools they need to help those who need it the most.”

Tesco Development Chef Martyn Lee said: "Tesco has donated more than 60 million meals’ worth of surplus food to date, but it wouldn’t have reached those in need of a good meal were it not for local community cooks like Choice. I hope that Choice took away a lot from the course, and will put their new-found cooking knowledge to good use, while continuing their great work at Trust Links.”

At Trust Links we are committed to promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly life choices to enhance wellbeing and ensure our practice is accessible to everyone, regardless of skills, experience or financial position. Thanks to the cookery school, we’ll be able to share our learning through workshops that will support over 20 people, and the wider local community, and we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity.