Get children cooking: World Cancer Research Fund and Cook School join forces to improve children’s health

23 November 2020

A new partnership to promote healthy eating habits among the nation’s children is being announced today. Junior Cooks Club is a collaboration between pioneering not-for profit Cook School and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) – the UK’s only charity solely dedicated to cancer prevention and survival.

Through fun, hands-on classes, Junior Cooks Club aims to provide school-age children with cooking skills, as well as vital life lessons on diet and nutrition. WCRF and Cook School joined forces through their shared belief that it’s never too early to develop healthy habits, and that good food and nutrition play a vital role in enhancing the life chances of the nation’s children.

Amanda Grant, Cook School co-founder and award-winning food writer and cookbook author, said: “The benefits of getting children into the kitchen are huge – it goes way beyond them giving a hand with the washing up! It’s a life skill. We all have to eat every day, and if you learn how to cook, you’re much more likely to have a healthy and enjoyable life ahead of you. 

“Our partnership with WCRF is a great fit – we’re both totally passionate about educating about good food. It’s so important to eat healthily, but it needs to be easy, accessible and affordable too, otherwise those lessons can easily fall by the wayside.”

Less than one in five children are currently eating their recommended 5 A DAY1, and child obesity is rising every year2, which can lead to long-term health issues.

Sidonie Sakula-Barry, WCRF’s Health Promotion Manager, said “An average of six UK children in a classroom of 30 are overweight or obese when they start primary school. Families are facing a rising tide of cheap, easily available, unhealthy food; reinforced in children’s minds through TV ads and online content.

“It has never been more vital to take action to improve children’s health and wellbeing. By doing so we can reduce the risk of children developing cancer and other diseases in adulthood.”

The Junior Cooks Club programme will provide schools with free lessons that children can cook along with, plus teachers’ notes and an ingredients list – making it as easy as possible for teachers, while ensuring classes are linked to the curriculum. All recipes have been checked by WCRF nutritionists and children will get to take home a pack of resources to encourage repeat cooking at home.

Gerard Cousins, Director of Fundraising at WCRF, said: “We are poised to deliver the Junior Cooks Club programme and are looking to secure funding to launch a pilot as early as possible. With the right funding partner, our aim is to then scale up and roll this project out nationally. We are seeking expressions of interest from any trusts, foundations, businesses and individuals who are keen to join us in equipping children with the life skills for a healthier, happier future.”

More info can be found here: www.wcrf-uk.org/juniorcooksclub

Ends

For more information and media enquiries contact Laura Burnell, Head of Content and Campaigns at WCRF, on 07879 483022 or l.burnell@wcrf.org.

Notes to editors

References

1http://healthsurvey.hscic.gov.uk/data-visualisation/data-visualisation/explore-the-trends/fruit-vegetables.aspx

2https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/national-child-measurement-programme/2019-20-school-year

About Junior Cooks Club

Junior Cooks Club is a collaboration between Cook School and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). The partnership was developed through a shared belief that it’s never too early to develop healthy habits, and that good food and nutrition play a vital role in enhancing the life chances of the nation’s children. 

WCRF is the UK’s only charity solely dedicated to cancer prevention and survival. Over the last 30 years, WCRF has worked tirelessly to understand the links between a person’s weight, diet, and physical activity levels and their cancer risk. www.wcrf-uk.org and Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Cook School is a pioneering, not-for-profit, nationwide organisation teaching children aged five to 19 years old to understand food and how to cook. We believe that knowing how to do both these things will help us all to be healthy and to have a healthier planet. Started by leading children’s food writer Amanda Grant and her partner Kristian Dean, Cook School has taught over 40,000 children so far. For more info go to cookschool.club or follow @cookschoolclub on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook