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Bags of Taste
Bags of Taste works with people in food poverty to improve their diets and finances.

Bags of Taste supports vulnerable people in food poverty to improve their diets.  We do this by running mentor-supported courses on WhatsApp which teach and motivate participants to cook from scratch and eat more healthily.  This leads them to improve their health, mental health, wellbeing and finances, as they stop eating junk food and takeaways.

It’s kind of like Hello Fresh or Gousto, but with intensive motivational support.  We will deliver all the ingredients for 3 new recipes (7 meals) to the participant and then a staff member and YOU, the mentor, encourage them and support them to cook the 3 dishes and graduate the course.

Don’t worry – you don’t need to be an expert at cooking.  We have specially made YouTube videos to share that will do the teaching.  What’s important is that you care and take the time with the people, notice what they are doing and praise them when they succeed, and encourage them to move on to the next task/recipe.  If they get stuck, try and find out what is going on (it’s usually a crisis of confidence) and give them the support & reassurance they need to continue.

This opportunity would be suitable for someone with some or all of the following characteristics

  • Enthusiastic, caring, encouraging and persistent
  • Interested in nutrition, health, public health or diet
  • Loves to cook and discuss food
  • Interested in finding out some of the challenges that people in poverty face
  • Outgoing, makes friends easily and enjoys chatting to people on social media

All our participants are scored for indicators of poverty and deprivation and they have an average score of over 5, which means they are facing quite challenging circumstances like long term unemployment, disability, health, mental health or living conditions.  Despite this, we have long term evaluations that show they go on after the course to make dramatic changes to their diets and lives, meaning that your volunteering will be extremely impactful - for just a few hours a week, you can change someone’s life.


You will support (along with a staff member), a group of 3 participants on WhatsApp over the time it takes them to each cook 3 recipes, typically that is 10 days to 2 weeks.  There is a clearly laid out syllabus to follow that includes YouTube links to share and written materials on each topic. Your primary responsibilities will be

  • Developing a relationship with the individuals in your group
  • Being chatty enthusiastic and approachable
  • Sharing the syllabus with them and pacing this at a pace appropriate for your group (if they are quick to cook, share the next stage quickly, if they are slow then don’t scare them by showing them how much more there is to do)
  • Encouraging them at each stage of the course
  • Keeping track of the progress of each individual participant and ensuring that no one gets forgotten or left behind
  • Praising them every time they succeed
  • Gathering evaluation feedback from them after the course for funders

Time commitment

This role is virtual. You will need to allocate time for initial training of around 1-1.5 hours (one-off). After that, each course typically takes 2 hours a week for 2 weeks, spread over the 2 weeks – most of it is just 5 minutes here and there, many mentors work full time and still mentor very successfully. You commit one 2-week course at a time and we will work around your availability – we will contact you to see when you are free.

UCL Departments

This organisation is one of our community partner organisations.

Like all volunteer recruiters we work with, they have signed up to our service standards, agreeing to abide by our policy on partnership working to keep you safe and supported whilst you volunteer.

You’ll never be out of pocket for volunteering through us – with in-London travel expenses to and from your volunteering guaranteed.

In addition, the team here at Students’ Union UCL Volunteering Service is here to support you throughout your volunteering journey – you can get in touch with us at any time.