Grow, Share, Cook celebration event

PCH Celebration

A celebration event has taken place to mark one year of volunteer cookery sessions with residents.

The Grow, Share Cook sessions up at Plumer House, the headquarters for Plymouth Community Homes, led by Tami Skelton from Food is Fun, have now been taking place for a year as part of the Our Plymouth volunteer initiative. The aim of Grow, Share, Cook, is to mobilise volunteers to grow more fresh fruit and vegetables, the development of community gardens and the distribution of the food to those in need, as well as healthy cookery sessions.

Since Grow, Share, Cook and Our Plymouth were launched:

  • 23,360 meals have been given to 1,611 people
  • 85% of participants say they now have a healthier diet
  • 89% of participants say that Grow, Share, Cook has helped improve their cooking skills
  • 103 families have been receiving free fortnightly fruit and veg boxes
  • 216 pots and pans have been donated in the pots and pans amnesty

Our Plymouth is based on the Cities of Service volunteer model and Plymouth is one of seven cities in the UK to be selected to take part. Cities of Service is based on an American volunteer scheme initiated by the former Mayor Bloomberg and has been adapted for the UK by the Cabinet Office and Nesta. Locally Our Plymouth is coordinated by Plymouth City Council working with a range of local partners.

The celebration event was aimed at Grow, Share, Cook volunteers and participants and was attended by around 30 residents plus Our Plymouth volunteers and representatives from a range of local partner agencies. There were people of all ages at the event, from pre-school to pensioners, the youngest of which was three year old Lilly-Ruth Robertshaw.

Lilly attended the event with her mum Sarah Robertshaw, who said: “We have really enjoyed going to Grow, Share, Cook and getting the veg boxes, and the kids have enjoyed exploring the different vegetables and recipes. Lilly’s favourite vegetable is carrots.

Friends Gwen Wengradt and Val Sneddon, who both live in Ernesettle, also attended the event. Gwen said: “It’s been great coming to the Grow, Share Cook sessions and we have all learned a lot of new recipes as a result. I really like making the savoury cupcakes and have tried lots of different recipes.

Darin Halifax, Chief Cities of Service Officer for Plymouth City Council, said: “We are really pleased with the success of Grow, Share, Cook and the difference it has made to people’s lives so far. The project has worked really well with the help of our partners Food Is Fun, Plymouth Community Homes, Tamar Grow Local, Plymouth City Council and most important of all, the volunteers and participants – we couldn’t have done it without them all.

The aim of the celebration event was to say a big thank you to all those who have taken part. The healthy cooking sessions at Plumer House have been really popular and people have taken their learning back home and shared it with their families.

Tami Skelton, Nutritionist and Director of Food is Fun, said: “It has been an amazing year working with the families and seeing the difference that Grow, Share Cook has made to people’s lives. The people that have taken part in the cooking sessions with us have become much more confident through A having the access to more fresh vegetables by receiving free veg bags, and B having the knowledge of how to cook them. They have also been sharing their recipes and passing on their experience and knowledge to their families – it’s all about teaching people valuable life skills.

Zoe Nile from Plymouth Community Homes said: “Our Plymouth has created a renewed love of home cooking and healthy eating. Grow, Share Cook has enabled our residents to discover new skills in the kitchen, through PCH hosted cooking sessions, cooking healthy meals. Plymouth Energy Community has provided a great help in reducing energy bills keeping homes warm for less. Our partnerships have ensured a true sense of wellbeing has been achieved across the city

Rachael Forster for Tamar Grow Local said: “Our Plymouth has real potential to change lives through its holistic approach to tackling issues in the city such as fuel poverty and healthy eating. At the peak of the project we were delivering 100 veg bags a fortnight to front doors across the city, all sourced from Tamar Grow Local growing projects, Tamar Valley growers or English farms which is fantastic both for the recipients who get really fresh food and the small local growers who are benefitting from increased sales. It’s been a project that has really brought people together and a project we have been really proud to be part of.

To find out more about Our Plymouth, contact Darin Halifax on 01752 305446 or email

The Our Plymouth website can be accessed at You can also follow Our Plymouth on twitter at @ourplymouth


  • Key partners in Grow, Share Cook are Tamar Grow Local, Food is Fun and Plymouth Community Homes.
  • There are a range of volunteering opportunities available and among those is delivering fresh fruit and vegetables to people’s homes.
  • Since the initiative was launched, 22,500 portions of healthy food have been distributed.
  • In addition to Grow, Share, Cook, other schemes under the Our Plymouth banner include Energy Champions which promotes energy efficiency across the city, and Right to Read, which encourages local people to volunteer their time to help schoolchildren read.
  • Our Plymouth partners also include Plymouth Energy Community and Plymouth University.
  • Since Our Plymouth was launched, 22,500 portions of healthy food have been distributed through Grow, Share, Cook, Plymouth residents have saved £134,000 on their energy bills, and 117 volunteers have been recruited to the project. In addition, almost 2,000 residents have had conversations with our Energy Champion volunteers.


Unused pots and pans wanted in Plymouth to help those in need

L to r: Tami Skelton, Alan Hunt, Cllr Chris Penberthy, Darin Halifax and Brad Pearce

By Plymouth Herald | Posted: August 14, 2015

By SARAH WADDINGTON Herald Reporter @sarewaddington

DO YOU have any pots and pans lurking at the back of your cupboard not being used?

A pots and pans amnesty is being held in Plymouth all weekend as part of a council initiative to get more people cooking fresh food. On both Saturday and Sunday, volunteers in a marquee outside Plymouth Guildhall will be welcoming anyone wishing to give their cupboards a clear out.

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cities of Service ambassador for Plymouth, said: “The pots and pan amnesty is a great opportunity to make use of unwanted items; recycling them so that those who need them can use them.”

Plymouth City Council was selected by the Cabinet Office and Nesta as one of only seven cities in the UK to take part in the Cities of Service programme – Our Plymouth being the name of the local project.

Our Plymouth has delivered 6,000 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables to families in need; helped more than 600 food bank users access fresh food, and helped over 500 families through its ‘Energy Champions’ scheme.

Another branch of the initiative is ‘Grow, Share, Cook’, which is all about getting volunteers to grow more fresh fruit and vegetables and distributing food to those in need.

“As a cooperative council we believe Our Plymouth is a great vehicle to help us achieve our aim to create a fairer city where everyone does their bit,” added Cllr Penberthy.

Darin Halifax, chief cities service officer for Plymouth, said: “The Fairness Commission identified that people in Plymouth need help to access healthier food and Our Plymouth was set up in response to that.

“In addition Thrive Plymouth, the ten year plan to improve health in Plymouth, identifies an unhealthy diet as one of four lifestyle behaviours – along with smoking, excessive drinking and inactivity, that together lead to 54 per cent of deaths in Plymouth.

“We can help change this by encouraging people to grow and cook their own fresh fruit and vegetables, and making it easier and cheaper for people to do this.”

He added: “We are also still always on the look-out for volunteers for Our Plymouth so please do get in touch if you are interested, we’d love to hear from you.”

For more information on opportunities to volunteer for Our Plymouth, contact Darin Halifax on 01752 305446 or email

The Our Plymouth website can be accessed at

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Flavourfest 2015

SpotlightFriday-1 SpotlightFriday-2

The Food Is Fun marquee has been on BBC Spotlight South West twice this week! Today they came in to see children picking their food and cooking it in the marquee with our chef Chad from Channa Kitchen … and an interview with Tami!


SpotlightFriday-3Pictures copyright BBC South West and Food Is Fun


The Plymouth Show


National Allotment Week 2015 and Flavourfest 2015

The Food is Fun team are working with “The Plymouth Show” and “Flavourfest 2015” this year to bring you an activity fun filled week! You can find us outside the Plymouth Guildhall in the new Community Village celebrating National Allotment Week. As a partner of the Grow, Share, Cook Project we will be offering children’s activities including cooking demonstrations aimed at families with children.

Come and try your hand at planting seeds or harvesting vegetables from our pop-up allotment. Join our chefs in cooking fresh local produce and making tasty dishes. Or maybe you fancy scarecrow making or wellie boot painting and planting? There’s fun for all the family in the Community Village. Parents can take the weight of their feet with tea and cake from the pop-up café while listening to talks from local experts in allotment management, bee keeping, wood carving, growing for show, keeping chickens to name but a few!

“The Plymouth Show” is in the Guildhall on 12th-13th August and is open to all with the National Vegetable Society on hand to help. The week kicks off at 10am on Monday 10th August with Councillor Brian Vincent (environment portfolio holder) opening the event. Breakfast will be cooked and prepared by none other than Plymouth’s very own Michelin starred chef Jacques Marchal.

Spotlight-1 Spotlight-3


Photos copyright BBC South West, Food Is Fun and The Plymouth Show 2015

Amnesty for old pots and pans

Amnesty for old pots and pans

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: August 08, 2015

A ‘POTS and pans amnesty’ is being held in Plymouth as part of the Grow, Share, Cook initiative to get more people cooking fresh food.
The event has been organised via the Our Plymouth volunteer scheme in partnership with Plymouth City Council, Tamar Grow Local, Food is Fun and Plymouth Community Homes. You can take down your old pots and pans to the Grow, Share Cook marquee which will be outside Plymouth Guildhall from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 August from 9am to 5pm on any of the days.

The aim of the amnesty, is to encourage local people to get rid of their surplus, unwanted pots and pans and donate them to help others who can’t afford them.

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