UCWB Stories

The highly successful SA Community Foodies program operated by UnitingCare Wesley Bowden (UCWB) expanded into remote South Australia during 2017 with sessions in Oodnadatta and a one-off visit to the APY Lands in June.

The program’s state manager, Carolyn Dent, said going to Oodnadatta had been such a success there are now plans to take workshops into Coober Pedy during 2018.

SA Community Foodies operates in the Adelaide metro area and some country centres to support disadvantaged and vulnerable adults and their children to increase healthy eating knowledge and behaviour using practical cooking demonstrations in a social setting.

“As well as improvements in nutrition there has been significant growth in the participants’ self-confidence, social skills, independence and living skills.” Carolyn

Funded by SA Health, the program conducted 347 nutrition and cooking sessions at 14 locations involving 3,718 participants during 2016-17. The program trained volunteer Community Foodies in reinforcing key messages to eat breakfast, eat fruit and vegetables, drink water not soft drinks, and eat whole foods, not processed foods. The volunteers then run workshops in their local community.

“As well as improvements in nutrition there has been significant growth in the participants’ self-confidence, social skills, independence and living skills,” Carolyn says.

“This has translated into some participants gaining employment and some working in local community run cafes.”

An evaluation by Flinders University found a marked increase in healthy eating behaviour by participants of SA Community Foodies sessions. The program is looking for a new partnership sponsor to continue beyond June 2018 when SA Health funding ends.

It found that 72% of Foodie volunteers felt after the workshop they had the confidence to deliver the healthy eating program themselves and 92% had the confidence to eat healthy most days.

Hear Carolyn Dent and Kirsten Grace, CEO of the Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation, talk about Community Foodies’ visit to the APY Lands in an interview on the Paper Tracker radio program recorded in June 2017. The interview is in both English and Anangu, listen here.

Find out more about SA Community Foodies