KNUTSFOODIES, an innovative pilot 10-week food course for primary school children and young people, has been launched at The Welcome.

Childhood obesity is a growing problem across the country and latest figures show that 8.5 per cent of reception-age children and 19.9 per cent of Year 6 children in Central and Eastern Cheshire are classed as obese.

“It’s a complex issue and many experts suspect that the rise in diabetes and obesity is linked with increased consumption of processed, refined foods, hidden sugars and sugary drinks, combined with plenty of evidence suggesting that ‘home cooking’ is on the wane – regardless of income,” said programme designer Sarah Flannery.

“The Welcome has previously delivered a successful Little Cooks programme but Knutsfoodies will explore whether food education on its own simply isn’t enough, through an integrated approach that considers real eating habits, accessible food and pester power – to see if young people can influence their parents/carers rather than vice versa,” said Sarah.

The Welcome’s Operations Manager, Marie Fox, said Knutsfoodies will address many issues and help educate children on the choices they are making.

“What we found, running the youth clubs, is that a lot of the kids have a lot of pop and fizzy drinks. That’s why we are doing this, the kids are choosing things that are not good for them,” said Marie.

“Knutsfoodies is a practical course designed to arm children with skills and knowledge to stay healthy through their childhood and adult life.”

A key innovation is a unique partnership with Aldi, who are providing ingredients each week.

Marie added: “Thanks to Aldi Knutsford, the children are able to take home not just a recipe but the ingredients to cook a family meal each week – and build up a good store cupboard for future meals."

Knutsfoodies is funded by an Awards for All grant from The Big Lottery Fund.

The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40 per cent of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.

The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 it has awarded close to £6bn.