Catherine GingellLittle Caitlyn enjoys preparing food with her mum Lizzie in one of the free ‘Cook with Us’ classes being delivered weekly in Teesside and County Durham.

Social enterprise Nouveau Wellbeing, founded by social entrepreneur Bethany Ainsley in 2008, is delivering free ‘Cook with Us’ classes ‘for all ages’.

The free to attend classes are Big Lottery funded and designed to help people to eat healthily in a bid to address some of the region’s underlying health and social issues.

Nouveau Wellbeing founder Bethany Ainsley said: “The Cook with Us classes are a departure from our dance and fitness classes but show how we value good diet as an essential part of a person’s overall wellbeing.”

The aim is to help people eat healthily, conveniently and cost effectively to fit in with their busy lives. The classes delivered by nutritional expert Catherine Gingell take a relaxed, fun but practical approach to preparing healthy daily food on a budget.

Catherine, who delivers these classes for Nouveau away from her day job at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Most importantly of all these classes are fun; and available for anyone in Teesside or County Durham looking for a way to prepare practical, healthy and cost effective meals. Things like cottage pie, stir fry and even pizza can be prepared quickly and with healthy ingredients.”

Single mum Lizzie McLean who lives in Barnard Castle is a hardworking waitress who has regularly attended the classes with her daughter, 3 year old Caitlyn, who attends Kirkland’s Day Nursery.

She said: “It’s been fun to attend the classes for Caitlyn and also good for me. We’ve prepared stir fry vegetables and even something as obvious as pizza can be prepared quickly with healthy ingredients and not too pricey.

I am a busy mum who works and it is good to know you can quickly and cheaply prepare healthy food and not always have to resort to a pre-prepared option.

Caitlyn has got really involved too and it’s been a great activity for both of us to do together, the classes are very hands on and fun.”

Catherine Gingell said: “I believe there is a preconceived notion that food preparation from healthy basic ingredients is too time consuming and too expensive to fit in to most people’s life styles. Hopefully I can show that this is not the case and that not only can preparing healthy food be fun, it can be done quickly, and is often cheaper than many processed fast foods alternatives on offer.”

Nouveau Wellbeing Community Interest Company reaches 1500 residents a week with its dance, fitness and wellbeing classes delivered across 75 community venues from Cramlington across the North East, North Yorkshire and recently started delivering classes in Leeds.

The ‘Cook with Us’ cookery classes are taking place weekly at the ARC in Stockton between 10.30am and 12.30pm every Saturday and at the The Hub in Barnard Castle every Thursday between 9.30am and 11.30am. Everybody is welcome all you have to do is turn up!