Skills & Training - Notes from Food Poverty Alliance sub-group

Here are the notes from the sub-group that looked at food skills and training - all actions were included in the Food Poverty Action Plan for Greater Manchester. What do you think? Have we missed anything? How might these actions be taken forward, and can you play a part in this?

Skills & Training
Adele Jordan/Helen Walker

It is recognised that the general population, and especially those on lower incomes, have become distant from where and how their food is produced. This is contributed to by a number of factors including lengthy supply chains, a scarcity of shops to purchase local, fresh produce and an increasing reliance on highly processed foods. Fresh produce is increasingly difficult to find in some areas of Greater Manchester and can be expensive, putting it beyond the reach of many household budgets. The level of nutrition knowledge and cooking skills has also reduced over the past few decades and so these are not being passed on through families, with children often relying on the limited information they are taught at school. Limitations in nutrition and cooking skills can mean a reliance on processed foods with lower levels of fruit, vegetables and fibre and higher levels of salt, sugar and saturated fats that are linked with diseases such as obesity, tooth decay and heart disease. In a recent survey, only 26% of adults were eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables daily.

Explanation of the theme
• Against this background, and with increasing food poverty and threats of increased food insecurity driven by climate change and Brexit, increasing nutrition and cooking skills could help people to increase the health of their diet across Greater Manchester. Low wages and insecure work urgently needs addressing.
Why it matters
• A cultural shift and an increase in collective skills and knowledge could help to boost physical and mental health (with potential savings of £5bn a year to the NHS), confidence and ambition, social cohesion, child learning prospects, and life chances.
Benefits of addressing the issue
• Acquisition of educational training, new skills and apprenticeships are a positive cultural shift for all, that enable individuals to gain self-confidence and independence, boosting better health and wellbeing, social cohesion amongst families and communities, and increasing employability.


  1. Increase awareness of the importance of nutrition for good health e.g. healthy meals, diverse tastes for infants, food labelling, the advantages of bulk purchasing by producing and/or sharing simple information such as how to make tasty, affordable, resourceful meals.

Action: (1): Collate and share all existing and new information/links/guidance about healthy food and send to organisations such as schools, community spaces, churches, faith organisations, GP surgeries, Sure Start centres, job centres, CAB offices, growers, charities, hostels, food banks, homeless support groups etc. under the GMPA umbrella of fighting/addressing food poverty. To encourage these to be shared further, printed and displayed on noticeboards.

Action: (2): Encourage organisations to investigate food redistribution schemes, if appropriate, and nominate someone to instigate group cooking of surplus produce (CGF can assist where possible), but work with what’s available first. The flyers can act as a community cooking pack with ideas of what to do.

Action: (3): Encourage diversity, information produced in a range of languages, infographics, pooling resources, and cultural inputs that lead to bulk cooking together for community benefit and an increase in the level of nutrition skills and knowledge.

Action: (4): Work with groups and individuals to create very simple posters of how to cook a meal using affordable ingredients with minimal equipment for distribution in the above outlets.

  1. Increase awareness and promotion of all existing cooking programmes and projects through colleges, GPs, health centres, food banks, and encourage voluntary experience / opportunities with organisations such as CGF / Back on Track

Action: (1): Provision of information to link into social prescribing and similar schemes, and sharing information with community food outlets. Create simple poster/flyers with this information as above.

Action: (2): Encourage community leaders in each community setting to further develop the momentum of cooking together by hosting cooking sessions and programmes. Encourage the sharing of basic recipes in all community food outlets.

  1. Promote and encourage employment opportunities (cooking, growing etc) including apprenticeships
    Action: (1): Research GM organisations that provide these opportunities to produce a list to promote and encourage the sharing of individual vacancies posted.

  2. Increase skills across GM by improving access to and knowledge of nutrition, cooking and food hygiene courses and sources of information, ultimately creating an Asdan qualification if deemed necessary.

Action: (1): Establish the current provision of course and qualifications, on a geographic and theme basis

Action: (2): Investigate whether a new nutrition/cooking qualification is required and how this would be implemented

SOME Actions Pledged
please think of what YOU can do
Action pledged by Action To pledge By when
Skills & Training group 1.1. 1.3 & 1.4
Increase awareness & distribution of the importance of nutrition for good health, diverse tastes for infants, misleading labelling, the positive in sharing of bulk purchasing with simple ‘how to make’ resourceful meals info sheets. With assistance. CGF have some of this info needs to be redefined in a way that’s unified. To seek corporate funding in printing posters for community spaces (not leaflets which don’t last)
June 2019
Skills & Training group 1.2
Increase awareness of all surplus food outlets and any existing cooking programmes through Colleges, GPs, Health service, foodbanks, voluntary experience / opportunities with CGF & catering qualifications.
CGF have some of this info but more needed from others. June 2019
Skills & Training group 2.1 & 2.2
Increase awareness and promotion of all existing cooking programmes and projects through colleges, GPs, health centres, food banks, and encourage voluntary experience
Advertise and increase employment/apprentice-ship opportunities in cooking and growing.
Partly CGF but need help. Dec 2019
Skills & Training group 3.
Promote and encourage employment opportunities (cooking, growing etc) including apprenticeships

?	Dec 2019

Skills & Training 4.
To train up new cooking leaders from the community, for the community. Funding needed

Longer term subject to funding 	Dec 2020