Andover Parish has begun a new collaborative project called The Good Grub Club, which is being rolled out through its social outreach programme (the Lighthouse Social Action Hub) working with Simplyhealth and the local NHS Integrated Care Board in Andover.
These clubs aim to create healthy and sustainable, community-led food, in a fun, family friendly atmosphere. Families meet with trained volunteers to cook healthy meals with fresh ingredients. The prepared meals are then shared and enjoyed together, and attendees can take goody bags of delicious food and recipe cards away with them, to encourage more cooking at home. As part of the club, families are also able to take part in fun and healthy activities, such as fitness groups, craft activities or learning about budgeting and nutrition.
The first club in Andover got off to a flying start on 4 April – eight families, comprising 16 children and 8 adults, met at the Comfort Café and Thrift Shop based at the King Arthurs Hall to make butternut squash soup with tasty pizza dough balls. The families cooked under the expert guidance of enthusiastic, talented local chef, Clare Davies, and a team of volunteers, before taking part in Zumba classes and circuits outside in the sunshine! These classes were kindly provided for free by Andover Leisure Centre and led by some of their trained health coaches.
The soup got the thumbs up from everyone! It was finished off with delicious hot cross buns, home-made smoothies and ‘sowing-your-own’ cress seeds to take home in a pot. All families took home a goody bag that included measuring spoons, a recipe card and veg to make the soup again at home. All the food surplus for this event was kindly donated by Abel and Cole and the Andover Discount Store.
The Good Grub Club was great! We absolutely loved it! Thank you for making us feel so welcome. I enjoyed making, sharing and joining in with the community.Parent
Southampton University evaluated Good Grub clubs – which have been run in the past in other areas of Hampshire including Bordon, Southampton, and a pilot club in Andover – and found they can help build confidence in cooking, encourage healthy eating and trying new foods, increase knowledge of budgeting and promote self-care and wellbeing through socialising and volunteering opportunities.
This project aims to be sustainable by making best use of local food surplus wherever possible, as part of a wider approach aimed at empowering communities to work together and make best use of available local resources. The clubs also aim to improve the provision and access to healthy food for all.
These clubs are free to join and will be running in community halls, some primary schools, and other venues located in the St. Mary’s Ward, Harroway Ward and Roman Way area of Andover from now until December 2024. There will be taster sessions for families to join and share their love of cooking and eating over the summer. As the project progresses, the aim is for families and participants to co-produce and shape the clubs in ways that suit their preferences, needs and hopes.
I am delighted to be part of this project and to work with organisations in Andover to support families to eat healthy and affordable food.Helen Coleman, NHS Healthier Communities Project
These clubs are being made possible by a generous donation and support from Simplyhealth, the UK’s leading health solutions provider. Colleagues at Simplyhealth took part in an ‘all together healthier’ eating challenge during March and raised £20,000 to support the local project.
If would like to find out more about these clubs and/ or would like to join one, please contact email@example.com. If you are a local business and would like to support these clubs, through the donation of cooking equipment, via skills-sharing, or by volunteering, St Mary’s Andover would also love to hear from you!