Caring Cooks Project - Sandwell Advocacy

In October 2018, we at Sandwell Advocacy were successful in a bid to The Peoples Postcode Lottery for the Caring Cooks project.  This application came about as a result of comments made at one of the Young Carers Forums.  We were talking about the future of Sandwell as part of Sandwell 20/30 Vision and a number of the young carers expressed their concerns about the lack of homeless shelters and the increasing number of Food Banks and the need for both.  One family have needed to use their local foodbank and the young carer asked us “What do you do with pilchards?”  A simple question which resonated with us.  “What do you do with pilchards?”  We then started to talk about other tinned food given out by the Food Banks and asked if they knew how to cook with these ingredients.  It soon became apparent that the young carers didn’t have a vast knowledge of making meals from scratch and so the Caring Cooks application was conceived.

This year long project sets out to teach the young carers how to make healthy meals from scratch using food bank ingredients ensuring they maintain the correct levels of hygiene in the home as well as staying safe around the kitchen.  During Autumn and Spring we visited Salop Drive Market Gardens where they made pumpkin lanterns for Halloween, cooked butternut squash soup and planted crops ready for the summer ahead.  During one such visit they also had a session of Basic Food Hygiene from First Response Trainers.

All of the work on this project has been filmed, recorded and photographed and is available online.  Reel Access have delivered a number of sessions where the young carers have learned all of these skills and they are now confident with using cameras and audio equipment as well as editing photographs and short clips. These films together with a digital toolkit are available on our very own YouTube channel.   A key part of the project was to equip them with the skills to use media as a way of introducing them to the Arts and alongside The Peoples Postcode Lottery was another smaller project funded by Creative Black Country whereby we had the support of an Arts Advisor from Blue & White Creative and funds to take the young carers to places they wouldn’t normally have visited and provide activities they wouldn’t normally participate in.  This included a live performance by Circus Berzercus at our 25th Anniversary event, a family day trip to Compton Verney and a session of fabric manipulation courtesy of Infamous Arts. We also had a day out at the BBC Good Food Show where we met Ainsley Harriet and watched Nadiya Hussain cooking in the main theatre.  The young people were fascinated by all of the gadgets available and they really enjoyed sampling all of the different types of food on offer.

We are really excited about this project as we have already seen so many benefits including the young people tasting different foods, being creative in the kitchen at home, adapting new recipes and showing ingenuity when they don’t have all the ingredients they need.  Have a look at our website for all the latest news from this exciting project.



The seventeenth Annual General Meeting of C.A. Coalition and national Assembly of the National Coalition of Advocacy Schemes were held in Liverpool on Wednesday 23rd October. At the Assembly, it was agreed that actions for the coming year would focus on promoting the importance of informal advocacy. This would involve working with a wide range of groups and individuals that are looking out for and giving voice to people within local communities. Further details of this work will be posted shortly.

Liverpool Citizen Advocacy and the Coalition held a joint one-day event in Liverpool on Wednesday 8th May. This was one of a number of events marking the centenary of the birth of Agnes Woodford, and it explored the capacity of people to care for and look out for each other.

The day included contributions from people working in different parts of the country in supporting people to have a voice. It looked at peer support and how this can be supported, as well as looking at some of the barriers that prevent people from acting to ensure that rights and dignity are respected.

The Coalition is currently exploring ways of taking this work forward.

Coalition national Assembly 2018

The sixteenth national Assembly of the National Coalition of Advocacy Schemes (NCAS) was held in Liverpool on 11th October 2018. It was agreed that the Coalition would continue to concentrate its efforts on identifying and bringing together the various community-based groups around the country that are undertaking informal advocacy. It is recognised that the vast majority of these are outside what is described as the advocacy sector. The Coalition will be working with Liverpool Citizen Advocacy in organising a major event on the importance of a community-based approach to protecting and promoting human rights. This is scheduled for 8th May 2019. Further details will be published on here early in 2019. You will also find more information at

28th November 2018