An award-winning playwright has collaborated with Truro Foodbank, a cookery school chef and Falmouth University to tackle food poverty through recipe cards and video tutorials.  

Gareth Farr wrote Biscuits For Breakfast as a commentary on the UK food poverty crisis. It tells the story of Cornish couple Joanne and Paul who, through no fault of their own, find themselves slipping into poverty. The play enjoyed a successful run at London’s Hampstead Theatre.  

“While researching the play, I was staggered by the scale of food support needed in Truro,” said Gareth, who is Acting BA (Hons) lecturer at the Falmouth University’s Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (AMATA). 

“It was clear that there was a desire to get the most use out of the dried and tinned goods in the foodbank boxes and to explore ways of adding flavour so these donations could become ingredients for nutritious meals.” 

A series of recipe cards, devised by Philleigh Way Cookery School chef-patron Rupert Cooper and funded and produced by the university, will now be included in Truro Foodbank’s boxes. The recipes include commonly found food items to help foodbank users make more of their meals. A video tutorial series will also feature on its website.  

“With the support of Falmouth University’s Policy Change fund and Rupert’s input, we raised enough money to fund additional herbs and spices for each meal that aren’t usually contained in food donations, as well as producing a series of video tutorials with Rupert,” said Gareth.  

“Hopefully this project can help people requiring food support to feel a sense of possibility and opportunity around the food they are receiving, and to experience the joy and wellbeing that can be found from cooking.”  

Truro Foodbank Simon Fann said: “It’s crucial people in need of food assistance not only get food when they need it, but are also encouraged to use it so we don’t end up with food waste. This initiative is not only about getting nutritious food to people but improving mental health and confidence.  

“We believe a food bank should be about more than food. Most of the people Truro Food Bank is feeding are families. If we can start getting kids engaged and interested in healthy foods from an early age, then we’re building skills from the ground up and helping to break cycles.” 

Rupert Cooper paid tribute to the “relentless work” of the food bank staff. “I’ve been looking for an opportunity to help within food poverty issues, beyond donations, and I thought this was a great chance to give people a few ideas and resources so they can maximise the donations at the food bank,” he said.  

“Hopefully this will give people a bit of inspiration to get cooking and then carry on and create their own recipes. There’s no reason why you can’t create some fantastic and easy nutritional dishes from any of the donations with a few small extras.  

“I hope people give these recipes a go and let us know how they get on. It’s all about making their cooking, eating and sharing more enjoyable and ultimately easier.”