Redcliffe Children’s Centre lies in an economically deprived yet culturally rich area of inner city, Bristol. The Centre nestles under several high rise blocks of flats; a diverse community living in close proximity to each other.
In 2014 the BBC Food and Farming Awards “Local Hero” category was awarded to Elizabeth Carruthers, the Centre’s Head in recognition of her work setting up and running the Food Project. This National Award celebrates the importance of working with children from a very young age, encouraging them to explore and experiment with food.
Jamie Oliver spoke about Elizabeth Carruthers award :
“The winner is totally worthy. What she has achieved is beautiful. It sets an example for other parts of the city, other parts of the country and those kids will appreciate that when they have their own kids”
Creativity is at the heart of the Centre’s ethos. The exploration of food and cooking as a creative journey arose from the Centre’s focus on healthy eating and wellbeing. We began to work in collaboration with chef and artist Jo Ingleby in 2006 as part of the 5x5x5=Creativity Project. The Food Project now runs independently and Food Sessions are part of the daily life at the Centre. Clare and Huda, our Chefs, now co-ordinates the Food Project and also cooks fresh homemade and healthy meals for the children’s lunches.
- Food Sessions do not follow recipes; we follow the children’s lines of enquiry and they are free to explore the produce in their own individual ways.
- We have designed and built a child height children’s kitchen where the children can cook on a safe induction hob (with adult support).
- The children’s interests and ideas help us to decide on which ingredients we provide. We try and use fresh, seasonal produce whenever possible and often use vegetables picked from our allotment at Windmill Hill City Farm.
- The children can access equipment in the kitchen as they please and have an array of different utensils to explore
- Sessions provide a rich multi-sensory experience
- Food Session encompass all areas of learning
- We have found the sessions to be an invaluable, informal way of encouraging children to taste healthy food.
" During the Ofsted Inspection, the children were eating healthy raw vegetables with such relish that the only ingredient left for their pumpkin soup was water."
David Curtis - Ofsted Inspector.
We are keen to welcome more people from the children's families and also in the local community to become involved with the project, either by supporting us with growing ingredients at our allotment or documenting and supporting sessions.
I'm excited to say that we've acheived the Food for Life Early Years Award at Redcliffe Children Centre and Nursery School! This award celebrates the work we do with the children to encourage them to learn about food through experimenting, growing and tasting as well as eating our award winning lunches.
Nursery World `Nursery Food Award`
We are delighted to announce that we have received a
Lord Mayors Award for our food project.
Jo, chef and Elizabeth, Head of Centre collecting the award
at the Mansion House on Monday 18th July 2016