50 older people across Gateshead have taken part in a course designed to help educate them about eating healthier, tastier food.
The participants, who are all members of the charity, Gateshead Older People’s Assembly, attended a series of cooking demonstrations at Helen McArdle Care’s Springfield House in Low Fell.
Craig Bankhead, Manager of Gateshead Older People’s Assembly explains “We set up this project because, as members of the Gateshead-wide Malnutrition Alliance, we recognise that a lot of older people in Gateshead are not eating as much as they need to or as much as they would like. The Older People’s Assembly linked up with Sean McArdle from Helen McArdle Care, who offered us the use of the kitchen in Springfield House and the valuable time and experience of Chris Bonner their Head Development Chef.”
The project, which was funded by The Gateshead Housing Company through the Community Foundation Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, had two stages – fact finding and delivery. The Older People’s Assembly surveyed more than 200 of their members and found out a lot about their eating, cooking and shopping habits. In some cases, members disclosed that they felt as if they did not eat enough.
From the survey, 50 members were identified as being ideal beneficiaries of a cooking demonstration at Springfield House, followed by the participants sitting down together in the care home’s Orangery restaurant to eat the food that was cooked and to chat about what they learned.
Craig Bankhead said: “our members not only learned a lot from Chris’ excellent cooking demonstration, but they also benefitted from the social side of the project. Many of our members live alone and really enjoyed sitting down with someone else to eat their evening meal.” Sean McArdle, Director of Service and Wellbeing at Helen McArdle is delighted to have been able to support the project: “At Helen McArdle Care we understand the importance of food, not just as a source of nutrition but also as something to be enjoyed. We designed the courses to be both informative and fun to demonstrate that cooking doesn’t have to be a chore or expensive and that it can be a very social activity.”
All of the participants were invited back to Springfield House to receive a certificate of achievement from Cllr Alex Geddes, The Mayor of Gateshead, and to watch a presentation of the outcomes of the project delivered by Gateshead Older People’s Assembly.