VOLUNTEERS proved more hands make lighter work as Bicester Foodbank hosted a cookery lesson for its visitors.

Bicester foodbank founder Janet Ray wanted to take the charity’s services one step further by giving a series of home cooking lessons for the people supported by the foodbank.

She hoped that by giving lessons as well as the usual food packages, the foodbank could help increase the confidence of those families it supports in using basic ingredients to make delicious meals.

The cooking sessions were supported by a number of local groups including Healthy Bicester, Bicester Tesco – which supplied potatoes and bananas – and builders' merchants John Nicholls, which provided the kitchen space.

The building company’s marketing manager Helen Dearing said: “As a business we are all about giving back to the community, and collaborating with Tesco, Bicester Healthy New Town and the Bicester Foodbank means we can all provide the requirements to help the foodbank users gain experience of being able to cook everyday meals from scratch in an informal setting.

“I must say the food looked delicious and I will definitely be making these meals in my kitchen.”

Ms Ray, with the help of the various local groups, staged the first cooking lesson on June 27.

Everyone involved rolled up their sleeves to help make a mouth-watering mix of everyday ingredients including baked beans, corned beef, mushrooms and mash potato for an alternative take on corned beef hash.

Pudding including a mixture of crushed chocolate digestives, yoghurt and banana.

One foodbank user from Arncott, who did not want to be named, said: “Janet and the foodbank team have been so good to me and my family.

“Due to complications with my health, I became reliant on the foodbank for essential food items and now being part of this cooking programme will help me prepare delicious, nutritious meals for my family using these foods.

“It’s been great learning how to cook these dishes; I will definitely be cooking these again.”

The foodbank will host a series of summer cooking lessons with visitors alongside its continued efforts to bring in food donations.

Anyone who would like to book onto a cooking lesson with the foodbank can do so online at bicester.foodbank.org.uk