A PROJECT will be launched in Clackmannanshire with the aim of alleviating food poverty and helping people to lead healthier lives.

Hawkhill Community Association has been awarded £1240 from Community Food and Health Scotland (CFHS) to promote and deliver an eating programme in the county.

The initiative will allow individuals and families to improve their confidence both in and out of the kitchen, while they learn of the benefits of making meals from scratch.

They will learn the very basics of preparation and cooking, pick up tips on how to navigate the shopping, and will be taught how to make a starter, main and dessert.

The project will launch with a pilot, due to run in a few weeks time, before lessons are timetabled in the new year.

It will be delivered by the Gary Alpin, assistant manager at Hawkhill Community Centre where sessions will run, in partnership with Peter Marriot, food development worker for NHS Forth Valley, under Clackmannanshire Healthier Lives.

Gary told the Advertiser: "We want to try and help to relieve food poverty and to relieve food poverty we feel by giving people the opportunity to learn a new skill...and new knowledge.

"Knowledge about how to cook from fresh, how they can save on a monetary basis and learn to eat more healthier – healthier choice, healthier diet."

He added: "I think it's beneficial for Hawkhill and the local community. After being here five months, there is a great need."

Peter said that it "empowers people to develop healthier lives" and it will give Clacks residents the chance to learn how to cook and what eating well looks like.

He added: "It's an asset-based approach, where you're empowering people from the local community and giving them, not only the life skills of cooking, but...the opportunity to meet other people."

The community association, which will also be compiling recipe cards to go out with packages from its foodbank, to allow people to make meals, has been trying to get funding for the project for around six years.

Hawkhill is one of 42 groups allocated funding from CFHS to deliver healthy eating initiatives.

People on low incomes and those living in poorer areas may not be able to eat a healthy diet and are more likely to experience poor health as a result.

The money is distributed to ensure everyone in Scotland has the opportunity, ability and confidence to access a healthy and acceptable diet for themselves, their families and their communities.

Bill Gray, lead officer at CFHS in NHS Health Scotland, said: "We know that health inequalities hold Scotland back. 

"We also know that the people who live, work and play in a community are best placed to develop solutions that address them. 

"That is why alongside national actions to reduce health inequalities, we have funded community groups across Scotland to use the skills and knowledge of local people, and work together to address barriers to accessing healthy food. 

"As well as developing home grown solutions, funding these local groups helps to build community cohesion and pride, because they bring people together to share ideas and learn about healthy eating. 

"We are delighted to be able to support such a large number of groups across the country so that together, nationally, and locally, we can tackle health inequalities and improve health for all."

Sessions will be free and open to anyone from the Wee County.

For more details on the kind of sessions that will be running in Alloa and how to get involved, phone 01259 218139, email hawkhillcc@yahoo.co.uk or visit Hawkhill Community Centre on Facebook.