An innovative cookery scheme that teaches people how to cook healthy meals has scooped a top national award.
The Wellbeing project at Bolton Market has been judged the ‘Best Market Innovation’ by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA).
It beat competition from a scheme at Old Spitalfields Market, one of London’s historic markets, and a project operated by Market Place Europe at Belfast Christmas Market.
Residents attend a free six week course at Bolton Market, on Ashburner Street, to improve their cookery skills, learn more about healthy eating, get physically active and learn how to reduce weekly food bills.
The Wellbeing project is a joint Bolton Council and NHS Bolton project, and it is the latest of a series of health initiatives following the installation of an in-house cookery demonstration kitchen at the market in 2008.
President of NABMA, Councillor Geraldine Carter, said: "The judges were impressed with the partnership working between the market and health agencies and the ability to identify various measures that could improve lifestyle. Bolton Markets have placed healthy eating and living at the heart of their agenda and we are keen to recommend the work that Bolton Markets are doing to other local authorities.”
NHS community nutrition worker Joan Farnworth is based at the market and uses the cookery kitchen to show people how to cook healthy, affordable meals ranging from carrot and coriander soup to chicken jalfrezi using produce from the market.
Other health professionals also advise on topics ranging from smoking to mental health. Shoppers can also sample the dishes, pick up recipe cards and get tips about healthy eating.
The Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “This is another prestigious award that the council has won for promoting healthy eating. It is a real accolade for the work the markets team do with NHS Bolton in improving the overall wellbeing of residents and changing attitudes to food. This scheme is the ideal way for showing people how to make healthy meals cheaply using good quality fresh produce bought from the market.”
Director of Public Health, Wendy Meredith, added: “I’m really pleased to see that our collaboration with the council has been recognised. This scheme has been so successful in raising the profile of healthy eating across the borough. Joan is wonderfully creative and she promotes the virtues of eating fruit and vegetables using ingredients readily available on the market.”
Bolton Market has a growing reputation as the premier food market in the North. It has won a string of other awards including ‘5 a day Supporter of the Year’ for the Wellbeing scheme at the Re:fresh Awards 2011, the prestigious Best Food Market award in the BBC Radio 4 Food Farming Awards 2011, Best Indoor Market 2010 and Tourism Retailer of the Year 2009.
More than 2.5 million people visit the market annually, which will soon undergo a £4.5 million refurbishment.
The indoor and outdoor market is open Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm. To get involved in the next scheme contact 01204 333612 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.