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New scheme looking for wannabe Jamie Olivers

PUBLISHED: 18:00 02 April 2009 | UPDATED: 12:19 07 May 2010

Jamie Oliver.

Jamie Oliver.

People with a passion for food and a love of cooking are being called on to share their wisdom with thousands of youngsters in an exciting new project.

People with a passion for food and a love of cooking are being called on to share their wisdom with thousands of youngsters in an exciting new project.

NHS Norfolk is offering 14 to 30-year-olds the opportunity to take part in the Joy of Food programme which is being hailed as Norfolk's answer to Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food.

More than 3,000 teenagers will be taught about their five-a-day fruit and vegetable essentials, how to buy, prepare and cook healthy food and learn how to improve their diets.

The search is now on for volunteer cooking enthusiasts to help share their passion, knowledge through “cook and eat” sessions.

There are already 39 people from across the county who have been trained to share their skills but more trainers are needed to join their ranks to help share the joy of good food.

One of them is Oliver Vincent, a 28-year-old from Norwich who works for Broadland Training Services.

He said: “The scheme is really exciting. We are being trained to teach youngsters about the right foods to eat, how to prepare food, cook it and generally educate them in a fun way.

“We go to the supermarket with the youngsters and show them how to shop healthily, encourage them make their own meals and show them how to do it.”

The programme follows the same lines as Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food which aims to get people off ready meals and teach them how to cook healthy food instead.

To work as a trainer for the Norfolk scheme requires a passion for food so anyone who is a chef, school cooks and dietician, as well as keen amateurs can take part.

They will be asked to teach small groups in community settings, such as children's centres, village halls and pub kitchens and training last about three days.

Caroline Seaman, food and nutrition head for NHS Norfolk and Joy of Food Project Manager, said: “This exciting project gives anyone with an interest or knowledge of food, nutrition and cookery the chance to share their skills, experience and expertise with others.

“We have already signed up enthusiasts to be Joy of Food trainers, as well as trainers who are working with young people and want to help them to eat better. But we are keen to recruit more - especially in the west of the county.

“This is a really good opportunity for people with a passion or interest to step forward and help plug that gap - particularly in areas of deprivation or rural isolation.”

During the next three years, about 3,000 young people are set to complete courses as part of the £220,000 project, which has been paid for with cash from the Big Lottery Fund.

Over the coming weeks, NHS Norfolk will be promoting the scheme in secondary schools, children's centres and extended schools to encourage young people to sign up.

Anyone interested in becoming a Joy of Food trainer can email joyoffood@norfolk.nhs.uk or call 01603 257219 for an information pack.

Are you part of a scheme which is promoting healthy eating in the city's schools? Call Evening News reporter Sarah Hall on 01603 772426 or email sarah.hall2@archant.co.uk

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