TIME TO GET A WIGGLY ON…
Wiggly has grown from a small volunteer-led, Gloucestershire-based charity to a growing organisation that has helped thousands of people by promoting awareness of the public health benefits of cooking, food skills and nutrition.
Our story begins with Jack, the young son of Rob Rees MBE DL. Jack was often to be found with his nose buried in a book beloved by children everywhere – the Very Hungry Caterpillar. Instead of its real title though, in the Rees household, it was affectionately known as The Wiggly Worm. So what better name could there be for the new charity Dad was setting up in 2007? The Wiggly Worm was born, and it remains our registered charity name today.
At first, it was going to be a ‘Let’s teach kids how to cook!’ primary school campaign. But very quickly, the charity grew into something completely different. Soon, The Wiggly Worm was inspiring countless projects that encouraged us all to discover more about the journey of our food from “farm to fork” and how food could be a holistic tool for social change.
We offer hands-on experiences in the world of food, often working with those in our society who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or seldom heard. We are a passionate community of experts – a collective voice dedicated to working together to use food in everyday ways to deliver profound physical and mental health benefits. Our aim is to empower local individuals, communities, local authorities and public sector organisations to achieve lasting, sustainable change. We are doing everything in our power to help deliver projects that will transform lives of people in Gloucestershire.
A FLAVOUR OF SOME OF OUR 2023 ACTIVITIES
GET COOKING ONLINE - Completed Jan 2023. Contact us if you are interested in an online cooking session!
Online cookery project with a focus on learning new cooking skills, this project involved adults with learning disabilities in South Gloucestershire. Wiggly provided four sessions of two hours over the course of one week for a group of eight participants, working from the Wiggly Kitchen in Gloucester. Ben took part in this course, producing four delicious meals for his family.
GLOUCESTER DEAF SOCIETY - Ongoing
A fabulous opportunity once a month for Wiggly Chef to cook a hot meal and dessert for over forty members of the Gloucestershire Deaf Association. Meals have ranged from traditional fish and chips to spring chicken stew with dumplings and homemade fishcakes and tartare sauce. With puddings like lemon tart and rhubarb crumble, it's fair to say that the Wiggly meals have gone down well with our guests!
FUEL GOOD - Completed in June 2023
A 12 week healthy eating course for people with a learning disability, delivered at the Oakley centre in Whaddon.
FOOD FOR MOOD - A 10 week course for isolated adults delivered in association with our partners at Cheltenham Borough Housing
Held at St Mark's Church Hall in Cheltenham, Wiggly worked with a group of isolated adults from Hester's Way housing, teaching them to create their own meals from scratch, including delicious fajitas, chicken chow mein and smokey bean stew. Each week, participants cooked a main meal and a dessert, and shared the fruits of their labour together at the end of the session. Our participants told us how much they loved coming together each week to cook and how much their confidence in the kitchen had increased during the course.
CHARLTON KINGS SENIOR CITIZENS - Completed
Initially a 3-week short course to work with 3 senior citizens with learning disabilities based in Charlton Kings. Teaching basic cooking techniques, highlighting healthy eating and creating a recipe book so they can recreate the dishes at home.
GLOUCESTER DAY STOP - Ongoing on an ad hoc basis
Healthy eating course for people who have stayed with the night stop looking for enrichment activities during the day. Young people who may need to spend a night in care.
PATE'S GRAMMAR SCHOOL - Family Cooking Sessions
Two fantastic family workshops kindly hosted at the Food Tech Kitchens in Pate's Grammar School and funded from the Groundstart Tesco Community Fund, for families from the local communities in Hester's Way and Springbank. Parents, grandparents and children learned to cook a scrumptious meal of baked pasta with meatballs in tomato sauce, and also took away a recipe and ingredients to make WigglyChef's famous raspberry and double chocolate flapjacks. Some families told us that their children ate vegetables for the first time, and everyone agreed that they would recommend a Wiggly course to others!
GLOUCESTER CITY MISSION - Creed Volunteers Day
We are fortunate enough to have Creed Food Service as a wonderful partner for our work. In August, Creed volunteers spent two days with Wiggly, preparing and serving food for the hungry at Gloucester City Mission. A tasty meal of pasta bolognese followed by blackberry trifle went down a treat with our guests. Huge thanks to Creed for all their generosity and hard work!
WESTGATE COURSE #1 & #2 - Sept/Oct and Oct/Nov 23 - cooking for vulnerable adults
Our Wiggly Westgate #1 course catered for a fantastic group of adults with learning difficulties, coming together to cook some fabulous food. The group made Big Mac Tacos, chicken fajitas and mac and cheese with bacon - even achieving their own roux in the final lesson - something many home cooks struggle to get right. They learned together, ate together and enjoyed each others' company. Several of the group commented that they had learned new skills and had "the best time". Westgate #2 has now also completed, with another group of local adults learning to cook in a community setting. Brilliant!
Our Wiggly Westgate #2 course catered for a mixed group of vulnerable adults, some of whom have learning disabilities and others experiencing mental health issues. Our Wiggly Chef adapted the course content to cater for the different learning abilities and styles, adding optional complex elements to stretch some of our more able participants. Feedback from the course was fantastically positive, with 100% recommending a Wiggly course to others and everyone saying that they would love to take part in another Wiggly course. Adapting our recipes to the individual is what Wiggly is all about, so it is all credit to our Chef that he evolved his approach week on week to make sure everyone's needs were fully met.
WIGGLY IS COMMITTED TO OFFERING PEOPLE OPPORTUNITIES FOR LIFE THROUGH FOOD
Our Wiggly Beliefs and Values underpin everything that we do and every decision that we make. They ensure that we operate with alignment, consistency, transparency, clarity and rigour.