Limerick Food Partnership fakeaway classes – Pictured are Sean Fitzgerald (far left) and Evan O Grady (far right), youth workers at West End Youth Centre, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Limerick pictured with 14-year-old youths Craig Kiely and Robert McNamara who took part in the Healthy Food Parcels initiative set up by Limerick Food Partnership during the pandemic. Picture: Richard Lynch
West End Youth Centre online ‘fake-away’ classes kept kids healthy during lockdown
By I Love Limerick correspondent Rachel Petticrew
I Love Limerick have teamed up with Limerick Food Partnership to promote healthy food options in Limerick city and county.
The ‘fake-away’ programme was part of the Healthy Food Parcels inititative run by West End Youth Centre, Ballinacurra-Weston and supported by Limerick Food Partnership via the Healthy Ireland Fund during the Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year.
The Limerick Food Partnership fakeaway classes programme delivered weekly cookery demonstrations to young people over Zoom, teaching them how to make their favourite meals instead of ordering takeaways.
West End youth worker Evan O’ Grady, who helped deliver the Limerick Food Partnership fakeaway classes programme, told I Love Limerick, “There is a tendency for young people to live off takeaways, so it was good for them to experience making their own food.”
The programme also aimed to help young people stay connected during Covid-19 lockdowns, while the West End Youth Centre was closed.
“We made up packs with ingredients and materials in advance of the Zoom classes. Then we would either bring the packs to the young people, or they would come to the front door of the centre and pick them up,” explained youth worker Sean Fitzgerald.
Sean told I Love Limerick that the participant’s siblings and parents also began to take an interest in the cookery programme.
“The classes turned out very well. Even the parents were sending us pictures afterwards of the meals they had eaten, so we at West End were happy out with that,” he said.
Community dietician, Christine Gurnett, praised the West End Youth Centre for the success of their ‘fake-away’ programme, saying, “The classes seemed to create more engagement from the young people’s families. Everybody got involved and was really interested in learning how to create healthy food. It was really wonderful to watch”.
14-year-old West End Youth Club members Craig Kiely and Robert McNamara took part in the ‘fake-away’ programme. Both teenagers found the zoom classes informative and worthwhile.
“The cooking classes we did during the lockdown were very enjoyable because we got to talk to our friends when we were stuck inside,” Craig told I Love Limerick.
“We also learned how to cook many of our favourite meals, like chicken curry and shepherd’s pie. Now, we can cook them at home for our families whenever we want.”
Robert added, “I got to cook steak, and pancakes on Pancake Tuesday. I burnt my pancakes, but it was all good fun! I don’t regret doing the classes”.
The West End Youth Centre, part of Our Lady of Lourdes Community Group, is located in Ballinacurra-Weston, a designated Limerick Regeneration Area. The youth centre creates a place of activity and purpose for young people in the locality and is open five days and four nights a week. The centre allows young people to engage in skilful activities such as cooking, art, woodwork or beauty and is also a space to just hang out and play a game of pool.
Limerick Food Partnership, coordinated by PAUL Partnership, consists of a host of voluntary organisations, local community groups and state agencies, who have come together to tackle food poverty by raising awareness and improving access to healthy food options in Limerick communities. Limerick Food Partnership is funded by the Redemptorists and Healthy Ireland, by way of Healthy Limerick and Limerick CYPSC, through Limerick City and County Council.
For more information on the Limerick Food Partnership, go HERE
For more information on West End Youth Centre and Our Lady of Lourdes Community Group, go HERE
For more stories on Limerick Food Partnership, go HERE