Primary pupils in Innerleithen and Walkerburn given food for thought

You Can Cook event featureing St Ronan's pupils in 2012
You Can Cook event featureing St Ronan's pupils in 2012

Children in the Tweed valley are about to be given food for thought by a £44,000 scheme aimed at boosting their confidence about cooking healthy meals using produce they’ve grown themselves.

Peebles-based community interest company You Can Cook has been awarded £44,806 to run a two-year growing and cooking project with children at Innerleithen and Walkerburn primary schools.

You Can Cook projects encourage children to tend their own edible garden.

You Can Cook projects encourage children to tend their own edible garden.

The social enterprise, which works across Scotland from their Borders base, has been awarded a share of £282,000 available to Scottish projects from the Big Lottery’s Young Start fund.

You Can Cook founding director Bosco Santimano said, “Our project You Can Grow will work with primary school pupils from Innerleithen and Walkerburn to inspire, motivate and build their confidence in a range of activities which are all centred around food.

“We will run cookery classes indoors in the school kitchen, community centre and village hall in the village.

“The outdoor activities will be held in the edible garden on St Ronan’s Primary School grounds involving all aspects of growing from planting seeds to sowing and harvesting.

“We will also be able to teach the children and their parents and carers how to grow their own food and cook healthy, seasonal meals.”

The project, due to begin next year, will see the group continue its existing work with the children over the last five years.

Mr Santimano added: “Often when funding finishes with these things, they just fall by the wayside, so this is now another way to sustain all the work which has gone beforehand.

“It will hopefully inspire the children and build their confidence in both indoor and outdoor activities surrounding food.

“We are focusing on local, seasonal food and how to cook it on a budget as this is especially important for those leaving home or going to university.

“One of the main things about the project, especially in this area, is to give young people confidence.

“We’re aiming to improve concentration and give people an interest in cooking, encouraging teamwork and creativity at the same time.”

Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s chairwoman, said: “Young Start helps ensure that Scotland’s next generation has the best possible start in life. You Can Cook will run a range of indoor and outdoor activities to inspire youngsters to grow and cook their own food.

“It will make a big difference by enabling children and young people to gain the abilities, skills and confidence required for positive and healthy futures.”

Run by the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, Young Start awards money from dormant bank and building society accounts to support a range of projects to help young people aged eight to 24.

For more information about Young Start, visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/global-content/programmes/scotland/young-start