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Guest blog post - Lifeafterhummus Community Benefit Society

Free weekly Food waste prevention hands-on nutrition and cooking classes at Somers Town Community Association with Lifeafterhummus Community Benefit Society.

Lifeafterhummus Community Benefit Society are new residents at Somerstown Community Association (STCA) thanks to introductions made by Tom Baines, economic development officer  at Camden Council and the support of Executive Director Sarah Elie MBE and Operations Manager Jodie Allen.

We are a BME-Led society with ‘Health is a Right and not a privilege’ as our motto. We are on a mission to make nutrition and cooking classes accessible to all especially to the ‘Just about managing’ (JAM) Londoner who wishes to make preventative lifestyle changes, but simply cannot afford cooking classes.

A member of the Co-operative UK the society was founded by Food for Life Instructor Farrah Rainfly, Public Health Doctor (Croydon) Dr Sanjana Jio and Finance Officer Hetal Jani.

Every Monday through to the end of March at 6.30pm, we work with local people so that they can learn hands-on how to prepare dishes and centre meals for the following four food groups: vegetables, fruits, beans & pulses and grains.

They also learn how to cook/ improve their current cooking skills, how to save money on their grocery bills, how to reduce food waste and meet new people whilst adopting healthy lifestyle changes. This project is funded by the North London Waste Authority with donations of food surplus from the Felix Project (Enfield branch).

The next projects we are working towards are:

(1) Hands-on nutrition and cooking classes for Medical and Allied health professionals designed by Medical and Allied health professionals. Currently we have 11-14 professionals signed up to participate in our focus group.

(2) By referral monthly diabetes initiative cooking and support group.

(3) By referral monthly cancer project cooking and support group.

(4) Children’s and families cooking classes.

We operate three days a week at Somers Town Community Association. As a social enterprise we also welcome bookings for corporate employee well-being cooking classes and we are open to community collaborations

Over the last two years we have been operating nomadically as service providers of evidence-based nutrition and cooking classes and activities to clients such as Imperial NHS Trust, Kentish Town Community Centre, the Royal Free Hospital and corporate clients.

We carried out an analysis of our work over this time and found the following social impact based on working with 353 unique participants.

Top changes reported after attending multiple classes:

(1) increased energy,

(2) better digestion,

(3) weight loss.

Top intentions after attending classes were:

(1) to eat more fruits, vegetables, beans & pulses and grains,

(2) prepare more meals at home,

(3) make more of an effort to try new and unfamiliar foods.

76% of participants reported that our classes helped them to adopt a healthier diet. Almost all participants would like their family and friends to attend our classes to get healthier.

In line with Public health England’s Eat Well Guide our participants were able to reduce calorie contents coming directly from fats, increase fibre content and favour whole grains and unprocessed foods.

They reported a reduction in consumption of: (1) 23% Red Meat, 50% Dairy, 50% eggs, 32% Poultry, 39% Fish.

These were replaced by an increase in consumption of: (1) 54% Fruits, 50% Vegetables, 48% Grains, 81% Beans & Pulses.

A significant change in diet was reported after attending 4 classes. More of our data can be viewed on our website: www.lifeafterhummus.com

We look forward to welcoming you in class. For email inquiries: info@lifeafterhummus.com