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GOOD FOOD STORIES WITH WIGGLY

A huge part of what we do here at Good Food Cheltenham is to work with and find out about organisations that are helping to make Cheltenham’s food system better for communities, climate and nature, and how you can connect with them.


Introducing Wiggly.....a local charity with a mission to empower people through food.   Operating out of kitchens in Westgate Street in Gloucester and working out and about across communities in Cheltenham and Gloucester, Wiggly provides cookery tuition for vulnerable, disadvantaged and disabled people of all ages and abilities.



Claire Foote, General Manager of Wiggly explains our latest two Wiggly courses have run for five weeks each at our home base in Gloucester, funded by Gloucester County Council’s Levelling Up fund.   One of our core values is inclusivity, and the two cohorts of participants on our most recent courses have included people with severe learning difficulties who benefited from targeted supervision, people with mental issues who had been referred to our course by social prescribers and older local residents living in supported living accommodation.  




Many of the people who come through the doors of Wiggly’s kitchen are also experiencing food poverty, so our Chef is sensitive to adapting our recipes to make the most of readily available, seasonal, budget friendly ingredients and takes into account the equipment that our participants have available at home.


Our latest Wiggly sessions started with a cookery demonstration before everyone got busy creating their own version of the dish, having fun and picking up new skills.   At the end of the session, all participants came together round the table to share their dishes, connecting the group through good food and generating a lasting sense of community.  Dishes in our latest course ranged from twists on familiar take-away favourites, such as Big Mac Tacos – a healthy alternative to the commercial equivalent – to chicken fajitas, fish cakes and smoky bean sausage casserole.   


We pride ourselves on having no such thing as food waste in the Wiggly kitchen!   Any left-over meals are packaged up for our learners to take home with them, and remaining ingredients are either turned into soup and delivered to Gloucester City Mission for the homeless, or used in our new line of Wiggly goodies – chutneys and dressings that will be ready for sale in time for stocking up on Christmas presents!  Watch out for our social media updates via @wigglycharity and @wigglychef on Instagram and Facebook for details of where you can purchase a Wiggly goodie or two. 


The impact of a Wiggly cookery workshop goes beyond learning the skills to cook a meal.  For our students with learning difficulties, even the achievement of getting to the course on time using public transport can be a huge confidence boost and create a sense of independence.   Our learners tell us time and again how much they have benefited from increased confidence, decreased social isolation and anxiety and improved mental health as a result of learning to cook with Wiggly.  



Wiggly relies on donations and local funding to run our cookery courses.  If you are able to donate, partner with us, volunteer or simply want to learn more about Wiggly and our work, please visit our website at www.wigglycharity.org or reach out to us at office@wigglycharity.org.   Our virtual doors are always open.  Everyone is welcome in the Wiggly kitchen!


We are so pleased to welcome Wiggly into the GFC family and will be launching some very exciting news about collaborations with Wiggly across Cheltenham very soon. If you would like to feature on our blog please contact us at hello@goodfoodcheltenham.org

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