Feast Project, 2016
We worked with a fantastic group of children and young people on the Feast project from February to September 2016, set up to look at healthy eating issues using art, cooking, physical activity and fun!
We worked with 24 young people in total, working with an average core group of 18. We also worked with five local volunteers as well as a team of freelance workers, an artist a chef/health worker and a drama worker. The young people, the volunteers and the team collaborated throughout the project, which is one of the reasons we feel it was successful. We anticipated working with a group of 12, however we were delighted to get such a large group, and the OCA kitchen was often bursting at the seams.
As the group were invited to work on a healthy eating project and we wanted to know early on what they actually knew about healthy eating already. We did a simple quiz which revealed they already knew a lot about the differences between foods which were 'healthy' and 'un-healthy'. So why were the children eating sweets and junk food? We worked with our health worker Carol to develop an idea of introducing choices to the group. We felt this was realistic approach to take so that day-to-day diets can take account of treats and birthday cake etc. Some of the recipes we tried did include sugar, however we also looked at other alternatives including sweetening with fruit. We found that the group were really keen to get involved in the processes of cooking, chopping, stirring, whisking etc, they really enjoyed tackling recipes. They usually worked in small groups of 4 or 5, each with a recipe to follow, or each group would prepare different parts of a recipe.
The original idea was to satirise a day-time TV show format, and we would have a hapless character who had to work out what was healthy through a series of entertaining/educational show items. When we recruited Steph our drama worker, who we knew through the excellent Salford Community Theatre production of 'Love on the Dole', Steph wanted to introduce a new technique she learnt recently to make a paper person. The children really enjoyed the workshop and Steph came up with the idea of using the paper puppet as an alien coming to earth and witnessing our eating habits through watching TV channels. The group loved the idea so the script was developed along those lines. The children and the young people therefore acted out TV roles and being on various adverts, but what they enjoyed most was a satire of Eastenders - Feast-Enders!
The freelance team often worked together collaborating on the content as we had planned. Local artist Marie created stunning props to be used on the show, Carol delivered the cooking and healthy eating sessions and Steph provided the drama content. Laura also worked on the project, looking after the young people and co-ordinating all the workshops and the performance. We also had a great team of volunteers Michaela, Shannon, Jodie, Sarah and Tina.
We planned the performance for September 30th at St Clements Church, a great community venue that lots of the groups were familiar with. We invited all the parents and some of the groups friends who came and supported the young people on the night. The children worked really hard to prepare and rehearse and they spent their final session with Carol prepping food to be made for the buffet at the performance. the audience was offered some of the food that the children had been making. The children performed in the first half, then we served the food, and in the second half we showed 'The Making of Feast' video so the parents could see what the children had been doing. See the 'Making Of' film and the filmed 'Feast' Performance here.
The group enjoyed the project so much that they requested to do another drama project straight away! After a few months of negotiating and developing a suitable idea with the health Improvement Team, the team proposed a bullying project, which the children were keen to do. They have since been devising, including auto-biograohical material in the script and the performance will be on August 17th 2017. They have called themselves "Acting Against. Bullying".
The project was funded by Salford Clinical Commissioning Group and Salford CVS.