Caring Cooks, a Jersey charity which empowers children, young people and their families in Jersey, to cook and eat healthy food through programmes of support and education, has been successfully accredited as a Living Wage employer.
The Living Wage takes into account the cost of living, taxes and the value of benefits available to working people on low incomes. Its aim is to make sure that, on average, a worker receiving the living wage rate, topped up by in-work benefits, earn enough to be able to live with dignity and to thrive, not just survive within our Jersey community.
Caritas Jersey has been licensed by the Living Wage Foundation in the UK to manage and co-ordinate the promotion of a ‘Living Wage’ in Jersey.
Caring Cooks CEO, Melissa Nobrega said, “We are very aware of the struggles for many families in Jersey to put food on the table because of financial challenges. So, while we can support families in need with our programmes of support and education, we also have the ability to take a stand against poverty by making the Living Wage available to everyone that works for Caring Cooks.
It reinforces and supports the values of the organisation to treat each person with dignity and respect and to act with responsibility towards each other, the organisation and other people.
But it also challenges the misconception that because you work for a charity, you should either do it for nothing or for low wages. Regardless of where you work be it in retail, finance or the third sector, everyone deserves the right to fair pay; Covid-19 has certainly taught us that no one is immune to financial insecurity.
We are really proud to be one of the few Living Wage employers and would urge everyone in our sector to consider how they can implement this within their own organisation, if they haven’t done so already.
The Jersey Living Wage Campaign Team Leader, Jennifer Bridge, said: “We are delighted that Caring Cooks has signed up to be a Living Wage employer, giving public recognition to the fact that they pay their employees, not only above the minimum wage, but above the Living Wage.
The Living Wage campaign is focusing on lifting the wages of the lowest paid in our community, who frequently work long hours or take extra jobs just to survive. These are the workers who, through the Covid-19 pandemic we now recognise, as a community as being essential workers. We have witnessed a growing appetite in Jersey to do business ethically and to recognise and value the contribution of all employees. We encourage employers to contact us and start a conversation which will hopefully lead to accreditation”.
Jersey Living Wage
Living wage rates take into account the cost of living, taxes and the value of benefits available to working families on low incomes. Its aim is to make sure that, on average, a worker receiving the Living Wage rate, topped up by in-work benefits, is able to meet basic living costs.
Caring Cooks of Jersey was founded in February 2014 through one Mum’s kind gesture to cook a weekly meal for a family who were struggling, either financially or through illness, thereby ensuring that they could sit down together to eat a nutritious, home cooked meal and spend quality time with one another, without the stress of cooking a meal.
As she became aware of more families struggling to feed their children with home cooked, healthy food for reasons such as financial struggles and ill-health so did others, and with the help of a network of volunteers, developed the Weekly Meal Service. Designed as ‘a relief not a reliance’ the service was set up to provide families with a weekly meal delivered to their home for a period of six weeks while they get through hardship and back on their feet.
Throughout 2014, we identified that many families lack cooking skills, do not have the knowledge about healthy eating or don’t get the opportunity to eat together as a family. This, more than likely, stems from the broken tradition of passing cooking skills from generation to generation and the reduction of Home Economics classes from the Jersey school curriculum.
In response to this, in February 2015 the charity launched the Community Cooking Programme which is designed to give parents the confidence, skills and knowledge to prepare their own meals from scratch, so that they can establish healthy eating habits for their families at home.
We know that change doesn’t just start with parents, it also starts with children, but in Jersey there are no school meals and minimal government funding that supports children to eat well and develop healthy lifestyles. We introduced the Kitchen Garden Project in February 2016, quickly followed by the Let’s Get Cooking Programme in April 2017, as we believe that providing children with the tools they need to grow food from seed and prepare nutritious meals from scratch, equips them with some of life’s most valuable skills.