HOW IT ALL BEGAN


Lucy May set up The Organic Cookery School in 2004, with Frances Williams, after collaborating on a Lottery-funded extended learning program. Many of the schools who benefitted from this project wanted to continue offering cookery and nutrition courses to children and parents, but lacked the confidence, resources and skills in house to make this happen.

Soon after, The Organic Cookery School was born - a not for profit organisation which aimed to promote and deliver cookery and nutrition activities to children, families & young people and train teachers and volunteers to expand the provision within their own setting.

After a successful pilot in 2005, offering afterschool cookery clubs to children who were struggling academically, they extended the programme to include family learning, which is now a main focus of many funded Organic Cookery School projects.


Our achievements:

Since setting up in 2004, we have taught over 30,000 children and parents in schools, libraries and children’s centres across the South East of England.

We’ve trained and provided employment and supported volunteering opportunities to over 60 teachers, tutors and volunteers.

We have been finalists for the last three years in the British Cookery School Awards in the category of community engagement.


How have we achieved this:

The support of funding organisations such as the BIG Lottery and People’s Health Trust, and our work with a number of local authorities as approved family learning delivery partners, has been critical to our ability to identify and respond to need, and develop programmes which have a proven impact on the people we work it. But it’s not all about funding, and we reach as many if not more people annually through our social enterprise trading activities.

Receiving a cheque from the BIG Lottery for our Cooking With Dad programme.

Receiving a cheque from the BIG Lottery for our Cooking With Dad programme.

 

The future:

Our business plan for 2017-20 includes the expansion of our geographical reach, through the launch of an accredited tutor training programme. This will increase our capacity to offer our services to schools, children’s centres and community organisations and create work and volunteering opportunities across the UK.

 

LUCY MAY

Lucy has over 20 years’ experience in education, having started teaching in 1996. She spent many happy years in primary education, then expanded her experience with a series of placements in special needs schools, PRUs and offering extension activities for gifted and able children.

Community education and running her own projects called her away from consulting work in 2004 when she set up The Organic Cookery School.

 

I’ve always loved cooking and was fortunate enough to have a mum who cooked our family meals from scratch and involved me from an early age. I remember taking my Girl Guide Hostess and Cookery badge at age 11, proudly serving up a classic shepherd’s pie and Victoria sponge cake. Since then, I’ve become a bit of a more of a wholefood enthusiast and nutrition geek, and increasingly committed to using organic and seasonal foods as much as possible.

There are so many benefits to cooking with your children. The Primary school teacher in me would flag up all the embedded Maths and English skills your children will get to practise, the Early Years specialist thinks motor skills and creativity and the Foodie in me knows just how much children benefit from learning about great ingredients and flavours from an early age.

And there’s clearly a demand -  thousands of parents come to us every year wanting to expand their cooking repertoire and find out more about their family’s changing nutritional needs, or just to find a local opportunity for their child or teenager to cook with others.

Teenagers want to know how to fend for themselves – cooking from scratch and learning how to budget and meal plan are essential life skills, which many young people leave home without.

 


It’s a privilege to teach these children, families and young people and to lead a committed team of tutors who make a real difference to people’s lives.
 

When Lucy isn’t writing funding applications or trialling new recipes, she offers a mentoring service to would be social enterprise and non-profits start- ups and sits on the board of Little Sprouts, another UK based non-profit which benefits families in extreme need.

COMMUNITY PROJECTS

MEET THE TEAM

PARTNERS AND FUNDERS