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Haverhill charity REACH Community Projects adds affordable cooking videos to its newly-launched Christmas appeal





Haverhill-based charity REACH Community Projects has launched its Christmas Appeal and, for the very first time, has introduced a number of recipes aimed at bringing festive treats to hard-pressed families on a tight budget.

The generosity of Colin Ord, a chef with Ashdon Catering and a volunteer with REACH’s programme teaching people how to cook nutritious and affordable food, has made this possible.

The recipes are found in the Taste of Christmas section, part of the Making Christmas Memories campaign at which runs alongside the Christmas Appeal and also includes lots of information on Christmas Kindness, Family Activities and Warm Hubs, where families and individuals can go to stay warm and socialise, rather than having to heat their home.

The Taste of Christmas campaign by REACH includes lessons on how to cook an affordable and nutritious Christmas lunch. Contributed picture
The Taste of Christmas campaign by REACH includes lessons on how to cook an affordable and nutritious Christmas lunch. Contributed picture

In the first of three videos Colin demonstrates how to prepare a very tasty family Christmas dinner on a budget and this will be followed by further videos on cooking all the trimmings and also sausage rolls, the special treats which lead to lasting Christmas Memories. The first video is out now and the others follow on December 11 and 18 respectively.

REACH’s CEO, Henry Wilson said: ‘I’d like to say how incredibly thankful I am to Colin for giving up his time and how excited I am about these videos.

“They all form part of our drive towards preventing families from falling into hardship and financial crisis.”

Enough food to feed 120 small families was donated to REACH during the collection at Tesco in Haverhill. Contributed picture
Enough food to feed 120 small families was donated to REACH during the collection at Tesco in Haverhill. Contributed picture

REACH not only provides immediate support to those families and individuals in need, in terms of debt counselling, welfare support and benefits claims assistance, as the cost of living crisis bites, but also has an ongoing programme of hardship prevention which includes cooking education as well as household budgeting. “Taste of Christmas” is an extension of this programme.

‘This winter’ Henry went on to say ‘we want to empower everyone to enjoy Christmas without giving in to the pressure to spend a lot of money.

“The parts of Christmas that are most enjoyable and memorable are different for everyone, and don’t cost much at all.

“Things like spending time with family, personal traditions, tasty Christmas treats, showing kindness to others and sharing joy with our community.”

Debt, low income and homelessness can lead to mental health problems, relationship breakdown, low aspiration, marginalisation, poor health and low self-esteem.

REACH’s purpose is to journey with people, however long it takes, providing practical help, advice and support and it aims to tackle and prevent these issues while maintaining dignity, reviving hope and enabling people to live life to the full.

Henry added: “These videos are not just about saving money but importantly about enabling families to Make Christmas Memories, for All the Right Reasons, and I want to take this opportunity to thank all the supporters and donors to our Christmas Appeal in making this possible. A BIG thank you to you all.”

In the meantime, a collection at Tesco last weekend by REACH’s Haverhill Foodbank saw shoppers donate enough food for more than 120 small families.

REACH warehouse manager Vicky Chandler said she was overwhelmed by people’s kindness.

“We’re hugely thankful to shoppers in Haverhill last weekend.

There was a wonderful atmosphere with our fantastic volunteers talking to people about the different ways in which they could help.

“The warehouse is now looking much better with lots of food and treats for families in need this Christmas.

“We wouldn’t be able to give continued support to those experiencing food poverty without the amazing support from our community, so thank you to everyone who donated.”