A SUPPORT scheme for families in Ryedale has hit on a successful recipe for providing families with extra food along with ideas for preparing healthy meals together.

The Helping Hampers scheme was devised as a response to the post-Christmas period when many families were expected to find themselves coping with the financial consequences of providing for the festive period.

The scheme uses families’ need for additional food to introduce other elements and when the scheme started, those offered the chance to take part were issued with folders to keep recipe cards issued with each subsequent parcel.

The scheme is not designed as a long-term part of the assistance structure for families and care has been taken to ensure they do not come to rely on the hampers, which are designed to provide enough food for two days.

Helping Hampers is a collaboration between Scarborough and Ryedale Carers Resource, the County Council and the Community Smart not-for-profit company.

The first phase of the project used funding from DEFRA and it is hoped other sources of support will be identified to help the scheme to continue and grow.

Carers Resource business development manager Claire Robinson said: “Each time, with the hampers we send out supporting information. It is another way of getting different types of information out to families.”

"The information is presented as “suggestions” rather than instructions and families are asked for their input into how the scheme is operating – a move which has practical advantages but also helps to make those involved feel more engaged.

The recipe cards are designed to both bring families together in the kitchen and to help promote home cooking skills and the ability to eat healthily on a budget."

“The hampers have been really well-received, both the food and the information,” said Claire. “We are looking at different funding options to keep something like this going. It was always intended as a pilot project and there has been some really good interest in it.”

Amy Simpson, of Malton, is among those taking part in the scheme and she praised the impact the hampers have had.

“It is so easy in this lockdown to slip into depression, particularly with food. It is so nice to do something together and sit down to a meal which doesn’t come out of a tin. It has a lot more benefits than just the food, because it is about doing things together. The kids love it, it is really good fun and I would be happy to pay for it.”