Cooking in the Community

Last week I was one the volunteers who helped prepare the evening meals with Food Cycle Cambridge.  This is a great charity that receives unsold food from shops and supermarkets to prepare regular meals for people across Cambridge.

Hard at work in the kitchen
Hard at work in the kitchen

I first volunteered in 2016, just before Christmas.  Now that my children have left home I don’t have to worry so much about family obligations, and I’ve also become less happy with the excess consumption that is so common.  I decided that over this period I will always try to give to the community, so rather than have an office Christmas dinner last year the office was closed and those who wished to volunteer joined me at Food Cycle.

This year we did the same.

The community kitchen isn’t big, but it was fine for the team of four plus our supervisor to prepare and cook two dishes for the main course and two desserts, all vegetarian dishes and the majority vegan.  It was a challenge but fun and we were all proud of the dishes made.

A meal being prepared
A meal being prepared

My part in the evening was very small, but it has made a big impact on me. I was a cog in wheel that was turning to do good.  There are many more wheels turning to improve the lives of others and every effort to assist is important.

If I’m elected to represent Trumpington then I’ll work hard to support great initiatives like this. We shouldn’t expect volunteers to replace services that should be properly funded, like libraries, but there are many areas of our lives where voluntary work can make a difference to people – and be rewarding for those taking part, as I’ve found myself.

Find out more about Food Cycle Cambridge on their website.


Learning to cook

Yesterday I spent 2 hours assisting with a cookery workshop in Trumpington, and run by Cambridge Sustainable Food (CSF)

I’m a member of this network of public, private and community organisations here in Cambridge and also the surrounding villages working to promote a local sustainable local food network, and is part of the Sustainable Food Cities Network.  Cambridge has achieved the bronze level award, which is a fantastic achievement as we are one of only eleven cities to achieve this out of 46 who are registered.  We are now aiming for the silver level. 

But yesterday I was at the cookery workshop for elderly people – it was fun and I learnt how to cook soda bread, a great vegetable soup and some of the concerns older people have regarding cooking but which can relate to all of us as tests us under different circumstances.  Cooking alone and judging the quantity so we are not eating the same meals for 5 days in a row, or when offspring return home and still have particular meal needs even though they have been away or a decade or two, and getting back that enjoyment of a social meal. 

Cooking class
Cooking class

This was the first of 6 sessions and I’ll go back to see what else I can learn.  And the soup and bread smelt SO good when I had to leave… 

Cambridge Sustainable Food

I’ve been campaigning about food issues for a long time, and I’m especially interested in the ways we can reform food production and distribution.

I’ve now joined the management committee of Cambridge Sustainable Food Hub, a network of public, private and community organisations in Cambridge and the surrounding villages, working to promote food that is good for people and good for the environment.

You can find out more on the CSF website and I’ll be posting here about our activities.

A great result in Cambridge

After all our hard work, the people of Cambridge came through and voted overwhelmingly for Daniel Zeichner as our MP – with a 16% swing and a majority of nearly 13000!

The Trumpington campaign organiser George Owers, who did so much to help me in the County campaign – that seems an age ago but was only last month – wrote this and I wanted to share it with everyone.

‘As you will have all seen, we achieved an amazing, thumping victory yesterday in Cambridge – winning by nearly 13,000 votes, with 51.9% of the vote.
Trumpington played its role: we ran an excellent operation and turned out our vote strongly. My sources from the count tell me that it appears that we actually won in Trumpington yesterday – a pretty astonishing outcome for a ward that used to be easily our weakest in Cambridge.
But this doesn’t come as a huge surprise: the other day we canvassed old Trumpington, wandering up Church Lane and Grantchester Road, and I have to say I was pretty astonished to see 7 or 8 Labour posters to 1 Lib Dem, many of them put up with no prompting from us. We also saw very strong support from the new estates: voters who only recently appeared on the electoral register, whom we had no records on, poured out to vote yesterday: clearly many of them supported us.
Thank you to everyone who has helped in this campaign: everyone, from those who put up a poster, those who delivered leaflets, to those who were out knocking on doors and getting our vote out yesterday, deserves a hearty slap on the back.
We built strongly on Katie’s amazing campaign, which formed an excellent foundation for this general election.

Campaigning for Cambridge… in the General Election

After a brief rest to recover my energy, I’ve been out helping the Labour campaign to re-elect Daniel Zeichner. There are leaflets to deliver, letters to address, posters to distribute and – of course – a lot of doors to knock on!

The response has been amazing, and the energy of all the Labour canvassers is remarkable after we’d all been working so hard for the local election. Daniel has been out with us, too, and it’s been great to work closely with him.

On Saturday, our MEP Alex Mayer organised a Labour Movement for Europe canvassing day to help re-elect a strongly pro-Europe Labour MP in Cambridge.  Here they are helping out in Trumpington ward:


Sunday’s “guest” canvassers came from SERA, Labour’s environment campaign, and they joined an East Chesterton team which kicked off from the Green Dragon pub:


and I’ll be out again tonight!

If you’d like to help, please get in touch.

The Day After

I spent this morning at Cambridge Guildhall as votes were counted from yesterday’s election. Sadly, I wasn’t successful and the Liberal Democrats held the seat.


Donald Marshall Adey 1,116 (Lib Dem)

Ceri Barbara Galloway 204 (Green)

Shapour Meftah 694 (Con)

Katie Thornburrow 847 (Lab)

However I’m enormously grateful to everyone who voted for me as your Labour candidate, and would like to thank everyone who took time to talk to me or our many canvassers during the campaign – it was a pleasure to meet all of you. I won’t stop campaigning for Trumpington, doing what I can to help the area I live in.  But first, there’s a General Election to fight…


The last push

It’s the weekend before the election on May 4, and we’re getting everything ready for the day – including sorting out computer and printers for our Committee Room, arranging lists of volunteers to help on the day, and putting our final leaflet together to deliver.

This campaign has been an extraordinary experience for me, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with an amazing team of people, including my campaign manager, George, whose energy, insights and sheer dedication have made all the difference.  The Labour Party is built on cooperation, and I’ve enjoyed helping out with other campaigns around Cambridge and been grateful for the help we’ve received in Trumpington.

And on Friday we’ll know how it went.

Out on the doorstep

On Sunday April 24th we were joined on the canvassing trail by Martyn Ware, well known as a member of Heaven 17 and a founder of The Human League – it was great to have his support speaking to people in Trumpington, especially as the snap General Election has given our campaigning even more importance!

Bin collections

One of the things that people often raise when we’re out canvassing in Trumpington is bin collections – whether it’s because the new schedule means that collections or missed or because of problems with bin lorries getting into some of the newer developments.

Having rubbish pile up is a real problem, and the City Council puts a lot of effort into making sure this doesn’t happen – but sometimes things do go wrong.

You can report a missed bin collection using the City Council website – there are also details of service changes and other useful information that may help.  See

Recycling Centre - Hanover Court - - 974556

(image Sebastian Ballard [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)