The Award winning Cook2Give project started in 2015 with the aim of teaching military veterans how to make nutritious meals on a budget by introducing them to basic cookery and independent living skills.
This initial programme was further developed in 2016 to become a more inclusive activity of cooking a 2 course meal on a monthly basis for the elderly veterans who had engaged with Forward Assist. This gave the Cook2Give team the opportunity to use the skills they had learned to actively engage with their older counterparts. The interaction across the generations saw an increase in confidence of the team whilst providing all who participated the opportunity to share their military experiences and anecdotes.
The third stage of this project commenced in January 2017 when the meals were moved to a weekly basis and opened up to the whole community, whilst still including the veterans themselves. This allows the team to use their new found skills to serve the local community, a key aspect in their reintegration into civilian life. Since January, the team have undertaken qualifications to bring them up to Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety.
The Cook2Give meals are free for veterans (donations are accepted to make this project sustainable) and members of the public are charged £3.50 per meal (2 courses). The Team regularly cook for up to 50 diners a week and the experience challenges the veterans to use the skills they have learned to develop new menus and recipes, whilst giving them all the basic skills necessary to prepare tasty and nutritious meals at home. Since its inception, the Cook2Give team has cooked over 3800 meals. An outstanding achievement for all involved. The Cook2Give volunteers were proud to win several awards in 2017 for their service to the community.
Quotes from the community:
"The meal was really enjoyable being well cooked and presented. There were a lot of people who came and thoroughly enjoyed the food and meeting other people. Some of these people may not have had a midday meal at home, and really appreciated the effort which was made on their behalf. The helpers were very pleasant and i hope it continues as it is proving very popular."
"We had a beautiful lunch with Forward Assist. The food was lovely, with lovely company. An excellent event to bring the community together"
"Thanks again for a wonderful meal and many thanks to all involved preparing the food. And the lovely ladies who attend to us. Forward assist is so wonderful to ex service men and we hope you are aware of how much this means to us all"