APTCOO charity on the menu for Mansfield’s Sainsbury’s store

.Staff from Sainsbury`s get cooking purple food at the new kitchen at Aptcoo today pictured from the left  are Nick Hawkins Store manager Carol Burkitt  APTCOO and Louise Tatlor Sainsbury`s
.Staff from Sainsbury`s get cooking purple food at the new kitchen at Aptcoo today pictured from the left are Nick Hawkins Store manager Carol Burkitt APTCOO and Louise Tatlor Sainsbury`s

GETTING children to eat fruit and veg is often a challenge for parents, with sweet treats always seeming much more appealing.

However, a new partnership between Mansfield charity APTCOO and Sainsbury’s is hoping to help parents gain some ground in this particular battle.

APTCOO was recently named as the Mansfield branch of Sainsbury’s charity for the year, meaning the supermarket will provide much-needed support to the disabled children’s charity as well as undertaking some fundraising.

Nick Hawkins, store manager, said: “I think APTCOO touched a lot of hearts because of what the set-up was and how we can relate to that with our corporate values.

“It was a good fit really for where we wanted to go this year.”

Part of their support will see Sainsbury’s staff promoting healthy lifestyles - helping families at APTCOO to learn how to ‘live well for less’ and assisting with activities that encourage youngsters to eat healthy food.

APTCOO’s youth club for 11 to 13-year-olds has already had a go at making pumpkin soup and by involving the children with the preparation of the food, they were then willing to try something that they thought they did not like and, of course, discovered that it was not that bad after all!

“The key thing is getting them involved in it,” said Carol Burkitt, APTCOO’s chief executive officer.

“The one thing that will always attract interest is something to do with food, so what we can do is link that to enjoying food, but looking at it with a healthy lifestyle and healthy living point of view, with the odd treat thrown in.

“We are getting them involved by using group sessions to explore the use of food, trying different things and being involved in the prepping, cooking and sharing.”

Thanks to Sainsbury’s support, the charity is now looking at developing other healthy lifestyle activities.

When further improvements to the kitchen have been completed, staff will host ‘ready steady cook’ sessions and eventually APTCOO’s youngsters will even be growing their own food in their own garden.

Carol said that it is part of helping families become healthier all round.

“My idea is that if you do it in an informal, fun way, it will have a bigger impact than going to your GP surgery for a healthy living check,” she added.

Fundraising-wise, Sainsbury’s has already helped raise £700 for APTCOO through an in-store cake sale and a bag-packing session.

Said Nick: “Our relationship is supporting the fundraising as and when required - it’s about making a difference on their journey.”

The cash will go towards funding a day out for the children.

“Little things go a long way at APTCOO and it makes an amazing difference,” said Carol.