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Community event promotes healthy messages around food

Lessons around affordable, healthy and sustainable food were at the centre of a community event in Leamington on Saturday (March 2nd), hosted by The Lillington Community Pantry.

Scores of people attended The Kind Communities – Kind Food programme, organised in collaboration with Warwickshire County Council.

The interactive day was supported by more than 15 organisations and agencies and included live cooking demonstrations, health checks and money-saving advice as well as free refreshments and goodie bags. Twenty people even found themselves leaving with a new slow cooker at the end of the day!

Partnered by the Equality and Inclusion Partnership (EQuIP), the event brought together community groups, voluntary and community sector organisations and featured affordable and healthy cooking demonstrations. There were also opportunities for residents to receive free recipe cards and taste the cooked food, as well as talks and demonstrations about how to use slow cookers and how to grow your own food.

Lillington Pantry, Kind Communities – Kind Food
Jeanette Edmead, from Act on Energy

Chloe Scanlan, Community Pantry Supervisor, said: “Cooking demonstrations are proving a very exciting way for everyone to get involved. EQuIP and WRCC are providing expert support to this initiative, enabling a richer and deeper level of community engagement and with communities most at risk of food insecurity.

“This is the third of these events in Warwickshire but the first one hosted by The Pantry. Leamington is a significant area of deprivation and one of the levelling up areas for Warwickshire.

“The day was focused on educating people about food, encouraging people to be able to make healthy choices but that are also affordable and sustainable as we know that a lot of people who visit the Pantry are struggling to make ends meet.

Lillington Pantry, Kind Communities – Kind Food
Joanna Lawton, from The Family Information Service
Lillington Pantry, Kind Communities – Kind Food
Warwick University students

“But we also wanted to add an element of fun so there were children’s activities on offer, including potting and planting provided by WCC Adult Learning and arts and crafts courtesy of Arty-Folks. It’s brilliant for the community and people were very positive about the event.”

Established in 2022, Lillington is one of six pantries in the region run by Feed The Hungry UK, based in Coventry. Following the success of the day, the Pantry team hopes to host another Kind Communities – Kind Food programme next year.

As well as wraparound support, the Pantry provides food from across all food groups including store cupboard essentials and chilled, frozen and fresh fruit and vegetables. A selection of cleaning products and toiletries are also available for a small additional charge.

Warwickshire County Councillor Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate and Culture and Chair of the Warwickshire Food Forum said: “The Kind Communities-Kind Food events are a great example of what can be achieved when local communities come together to learn how to make more affordable, healthy, and sustainable food choices.

“By fostering a deeper level of engagement with our communities, we are taking meaningful and positive steps towards educating our residents about food and cooking, and making Warwickshire the best it can be by empowering people with the right skills, knowledge, and opportunities in order to help improve their health and well-being.”

Lillington Community Pantry is open on Thursdays and Fridays, 11am to 3pm. To learn more visit here