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Cooking challenge to raise funds for muscular dystrophy charity gets the backing of celebrity chefs and celebrities from across the UK

Harry Hill, Tom Kerridge, Angela Hartnett, Ravneet Gill and Tom Parker-Bowles are just some of the big names lending their support to a unique charity cooking campaign to raise much-needed funds to support children and young people living with muscular dystrophy

November is set to take on a whole new identity thanks to a mouth-watering culinary fundraising campaign run by one of the UK’s most loved Muscular Dystrophy charities, the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF). The charity has now assigned November as ‘Meatball Month’ and is calling on the nation to get involved.

Comedian, presenter and writer, and lover of great food, Harry Hill, who also presents Junior Bake Off, is spearheading the launch of the campaign and has released a video asking the nation to ‘don their aprons’ and start planning their meatball parties

During Meatball Month, The Muscle Help Foundation charity is encouraging the nation to come together, eat meatballs (meat, veggie or plant-based), to help raise money to support the charity’s vital work in delivering transformational wish-fulfilment experiences to children and young people living with Muscular Dystrophy (MD). Over the past 20 years, the charity has made hundreds of dreams a reality for its beneficiaries. This has included everything from arranging for them to meet movie stars and sporting heroes like Al Pacino and Lewis Hamilton, through to organising amazing experiences like racing around Silverstone in Porsche 9-11s or experiencing level flight in an aircraft. The charity’s mission is simple – to provide unique, personalised experiences that turn dreams into reality for children and young people living with MD.

The meatballs campaign has got the backing of an amazing array of notable chefs and celebrities, many of whom have shared their very own meatball recipes representing a range of culinary tastes and preferences to help inspire people right across the nation. These include Tom Kerridge, Angela Hartnett, Tom Parker-Bowles, Ken Hom, Ravneet Gill and Lawrence Dallaglio. Harry Hill is also cooking up his very own special recipe for his meatballs gathering and he’ll be sharing pictures from his fundraising party during Meatball Month itself.

The charity’s CEO, Michael McGrath MBE, who also lives with MD, says: “This fundraising campaign is designed to engage the nation’s appetite and love of food and encourages anyone across the UK this November to simply cook up some meatballs at home with their friends and family (be they meat, veggie or vegan) and in the process, ask everyone attending for a small donation for being fed well and enjoying great company. This will help raise money for the charity’s wish-fulfilment experiences where we literally do make dreams a reality for our MD community – we call these experiences Muscle Dreams.

“But why Meatballs I hear you ask? In all honesty, it could be any meal you like – it comes down to bringing people together to cook and eat, whilst raising money for our wonderful charity. Let’s face it, meatballs are quick and easy to make too whether they are meat, veggie or vegan versions, and are the perfect autumn comfort food, so we felt this was a great way to give the campaign an identity and give people a single-minded cooking focus to put their efforts into. The ingredients for the campaign are simple. Come together. Eat. Donate. Help us make more dreams a reality for young people living with MD.”

Harry Hill says: “I can’t think of a better way to raise money for a wonderful charity. Cooking meatballs, inviting friends and family over and then eating them – that’s the meatballs – not the friends and family! The only catch is they make a donation to help The Muscle Help Foundation improve the lives of people living with Muscular Dystrophy. Unless I’m missing something, it’s a win-win-win! I’m already preparing my meatball menu and it’s going to be delicious!”

Michael adds: “With the country’s obsession with food programmes such as Bake Off and MasterChef seemingly never-ending, and a growth reported in the popularity of shared food experiences, now is the perfect time to build momentum for November’s Meatball Month. The UK’s cost of living crisis has also led to more people dining out less frequently and, by default, entertaining at home more often, so this campaign hopefully ticks lots of boxes. We also know how competitive people can get in the kitchen, so whether you’re a professional chef or an amateur, the challenge is on to wow your guests with a meatball feast this November all in aid of charity.”

Here’s what some of the chefs supporting the campaign had to say:

“Meatballs for Muscle Dreams is a great cause helping fundraise for Muscle Dreams. Get cooking, get all your family involved and help raise a little money whilst you do it!”

Tom Kerridge, Michelin-starred TV chef, owner, The Hand & Flowers

“I am delighted to support (The Muscle Help Foundation) with this delectable recipe! I hope that it will help bring awareness to this horrible disease and support all the brave people who suffer from it“.

Ken Hom, BBC TV presenter and chef

“Being half Italian, meatballs were a firm family favourite in our household, so I hope you enjoy my recipe. I love the idea of Meatballs for Muscle Dreams which happens in Meatball Month of November! It’s a fantastic way to not only help raise money for a worthy cause but also if together we can ignite the nation’s appetite, then more children and young people with muscular dystrophy will get their Muscle Dreams fulfilled by the Muscle Help Foundation charity! It’s a win-win! I hope the country and my fellow rugby community will get behind this and support it and don’t forget, check out my meatballs recipe! Buon appetito!” 

Lawrence Dallaglio OBE, Rugby World Cup winner, TV rugby commentator

“I’m delighted to be lending my support to Meatball Month by raising funds for the Muscle Help Foundation, an organisation that orchestrates delightful and enjoyable days for young people battling muscular dystrophy.”

Ravneet Gill, chef

I’m beyond excited and proud to be part of Meatballs for Muscle Dreams in support of the Muscle Help Foundation Charity. It’s an important cause to me and being able to cook meatballs and raise awareness and funds at the same time is a win-win.”

Max La Manna, award-winning author, low-waste chef, campaigner and digital creator

“Meatball Month this November is a really fun way to raise money for The Muscle Help Foundation. All you need to do is invite people over, cook a meatball dish for them (it can be meat, veggie or vegan), and ask for a donation. The funds raised will help the charity to continue to deliver personalised experiences for children and young people living with Muscular Dystrophy.”

Lorraine Kelly CBE, TV presenter and MHF patron

Case study:

Back in 2013, Alex Tait, then aged 14, took part in one of the early Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) charity’s Porsche Muscle Dreams Driving Experience programmes – his participation sparked the start of a truly wonderful journey which today sees Alex as a fully-fledged professional racing driver, mentor and coach for other aspiring racing drivers. If ever there was a true-life story that evidences exactly what MHF does and the impact it brings in changing lives, Alex’s is it. Read his full story here: Beneficiary Case Study: Alex – Muscle Help Foundation

To find out more about the campaign visit to register your interest and be inspired by all of the amazing celebrity chef recipes. #meatballmonth

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