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Healthy Mind Healthy Body

Helping young people develop skills in cooking, food management, and healthy eating on a budget.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, Local Authorities, Pastoral and Support Staff, School Teachers, Trusts

Aimed at

KS3, KS4, KS5


Community Support, Empowering Young People, Mental Health and Wellbeing


Student/Family Support, Whole School

Why was the project needed?

Local young people lacked the skills and confidence to be able to plan, prepare and cook healthy meals for themselves and their families. The project sought to assist them in acquiring the skills and confidence required.

What happened and what was the impact?

The project supported sixty-nine young people from four local schools. Each week for six weeks they were provided with a step-by-step recipe and all the necessary ingredients to prepare a main meal and dessert for up to four people. Through the use of a workbook, they were not only able to track their progress but also to learn more about food groups, healthy eating, budgeting, and food management. Furthermore each young person was given access to budget of £20 which enabled them to purchase any necessary equipment for their home kitchen – all young people were given an apron, a vegetable peeler and a set of oven gloves. The recipes started with a relatively simple meal, as the weeks went on the recipes became more complex and by week 6 the young people were making their own pastry. In week four, all remaining participants were given an omelette pan, at the end of the six weeks they received a muffin tin and recipe.

What did and didn't work?

The project over all worked very well, all the young people who started with the project went to compete the full six-week programme and reported that their skills and confidence had improved. The initial food delivery was directly to schools; this created issues with ingredients that needed to be refrigerated. However, due to lockdown, delivery was modified so that the food went directly to young people’s home addresses; this alleviated the refrigeration issues.

How did you measure success?

At the start of the project young people were asked about their skills and confidence levels:

  • Can’t cook 48
  • OK but could be better 15
  • Not Bad 6

At the end of the project the young people were asked the same question:

  • Can’t cook 0
  • OK but could be better 12
  • Not Bad 57


Ingredients For Success

The project was implemented as a partnership with 20Twenty Productions who have been involved in supporting families who struggle financially for any reason to access additional food since the summer of 2020. The relationship that the Opportunity Area and 20Twenty Productions had with local secondary schools was invaluable to the success of the project. These relationships allowed access directly to families who needed supported enabled targeting of young people to take part. The project ran over a 6 week period for each young person and their family; each young person received ingredients to make 6 main meals, 6 desserts, omelettes and muffins, there was enough for every member of the family delivered directly to their home with the relevant recipe card and, most importantly, access to our chef via email. The young people also received information on food hygiene, how to avoid waste and budgeting through google docs.

Is the Project Complete or Ongoing

The project in on-going.

How is the Project Sustainable

Funding has been made available from the Opportunity area to allow the project to continue, allowing a further 120 young people and their families to develop these essential skills. The project has also been adapted so that 245 primary school children are given the ingredients and recipe for one main meal for them and their families.

What are the Long Term Impacts

It is hoped that the benefits of this project can, to a certain extent become self-sustaining. There is plan to ask some of the young people involved to record Tik Tok videos of them cooking with the aim of encouraging others to give it a go. Ultimately a healthier approach to food and cooking will help young people improve their overall health as they progress into adulthood.

Next steps to do something similar yourself

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Social and Emotional Learning here

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