Thanks to a BWCE fund grant, 50 local families on benefits and struggling with their energy bills are now able to make nutritious food cheaply in a slow cooker.

Keynsham Community Energy (KCE) was awarded a grant to work with Keynsham Children’s centre, Keynsham FOOD Club and the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) to buy 60 slow cookers and hire a nutritionist to produce a recipe booklet of nutritious, cheap and mostly veggie slow cooker meals.

The project enabled KCE and their partners to:

  • Distribute the slow cookers, store cupboard ingredients and the recipe booklet.
  • Distribute warm home packs comprising blankets, lightbulbs and draught excluders, bought using a separate grant from Keynsham Town Council.
  • Give families access to expert CSE advisors to discuss energy bill issues, have demonstrations of recipes cooked in a slow cooker and taste samples.

At the start of the project, the families reported anxiety with using their conventional cooker because of the rising costs of energy. Two months later many of the families reported that they were cooking unfamiliar recipes including curries and Mexican dishes they previously thought their children wouldn’t like.

They reported that the slow cooker had improved their self confidence in cooking, reduced their anxiety because it saved them money and put nutritious food on the table. They also reported less food waste, with some beneficiaries saying that they used the slow cooker to do batch cooking with FOOD Club ingredients and froze portions.

One Single Mum on benefits with a part time job and two children in primary school reported that she used the slow cooker several times a week and that it reduced her anxiety about fuel bills, saved her time and (together with the recipe book) helped her to cook her children a wider variety of meals.

Beneficiaries included eight Ukrainian refugees in the process of setting up their own homes after coming to the UK on the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Find out more about Keynsham Community Energy