Cooking on a budget project launches at Keighley church

published on 14 May 2024

Keighley Victory Programme

Cookery courses that teach people how to make healthy meals on a budget to help tackle the cycle of food poverty are launching at Keighley Salvation Army after a similar scheme helped more than 40 families across the town.   

The Salvation Army’s Victory Programme is a six-week course, inspired by the community spirit and resourcefulness created during the Second World War, which teaches simple cooking skills, as well as helping people gain confidence and make new friends. 

It comes after the church and charity, working with Keighley Healthy Living and the Healthy Growth Initiative, recently delivered ‘Cook and Eat’ sessions to 41 people, with a focus on helping them make healthy meals from food parcel items to make them stretch further. 

Rachel Rowe, Keighley Salvation Army Victory Programme Co-ordinator, who helped run the Cook and Eat courses, said: “We are really pleased to be launching The Victory Programme here at Keighley Salvation Army following the success of recent Cook and Eat sessions. The reaction from participants was fantastic, they were really engaged in it and made friends as well.

Keighley Victory Programme

“The meals are mostly one pot meals which can be cooked in about 20 minutes. They are fresh, much healthier and the cost ends up being a lot cheaper than ready meals and takeaways because it lasts longer. The recipes are based around what you get in a food parcel and how cooking can help stretch it so it lasts five, six, seven days.” 

One participant of the Cook and Eat sessions, Mollie, 26, said she had not cooked at all before the course, but had really grown in confidence. She said: “This place is incredible, I’ve made new friends, learnt new skills. I now use the recipes to make my own food at home. 

“I do batch cooking as well which I’d never done before and which saves a lot of money. I struggle with money but now I know that in my cupboard at home there is stuff I can use and get creative with. 

“It’s properly boosted my confidence, I actually cooked pancakes the other day, I thought ‘why not? just try it’. I made four pancakes for myself with lemon and sugar, classic Yorkshire pancakes! There’s no way I would have done that last year. I absolutely loved it.” 

Keighley Victory Programme

Another participant, dad-of-five Damien, 24, added: “It’s improved my skills and made me more confident in cooking things that I wouldn’t have thought about cooking. It gives you an eye into what you can stretch out from a food parcel, and how to get value for money.” 

The Salvation Army is the main food bank in the town with an average of 40 to 60 clients each week so the hope is that these courses will help those who regularly attend the food bank and are stuck in food and fuel poverty crisis. 

The Victory Programme is run by The Salvation Army and is supported by Yorkshire Building Society, who are providing volunteers. Previous courses have been funded by Bradford Council, the Mayor of West Yorkshire’s office and The Sainsbury’s Foundation, with support from butchers Barnes of Keighley. 

Penny Southgate, Keighley Salvation Army Centre Manager, added: “It’s great to work with other businesses in the town who want to get involved.” 

For Keighley Salvation Army’s church leader Major Imogen Stewart, the courses are also a way of bringing people into the church on High Street, which provides a number of community activities and has a growing congregation at Sunday worship. 

Major Imogen said: “This is a transformation activity. To see them gel as a group, to walk out of here with smiles full of confidence, it’s really empowering. It’s a real blessing and good to build relationships with people who have not been to The Salvation Army before.” 

If you would like to take part in Keighley's Victory Programme please email, visit Keighley Salvation Army website or search for them on Facebook. 

For more information about the Victory Programme in other parts of the UK, contact our Community Services Department email

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