Work with our clients doesn’t stop once they’re in permanent accommodation and we actively encourage them to stay in touch so that we can continue to support them. Part of this is via our Recipe Box Project, which, thanks to the ‘Saving Lives – Suicide Prevention’ fund has kickstarted our ability to run cookery classes for clients every week, as well as recipe boxes delivered to clients in accommodation with a recipe booklet.
The project has been overseen by Miriam Ellis, Arts & Activities Co-Ordinator for Catching Lives, with classes run by one of our Volunteers, Martin and aided by some students from the Occupational Therapy and Social work departments of Canterbury Christ Church University. We have also invited professionals to deliver some of the classes.
We have developed various recipe boxes and delivered them to clients who have recently been accommodated. The boxes contain all the ingredients needed to cook a meal, as well as a recipe card and self-help information.
We are currently finalising a recipe booklet which will be handed out to participants as well as other clients at the centre. We have also laised with an organisation called Grassroots and they have offered to distribute it with their Stay-Alive Kent resource booklet.
This project has been a great opportunity to return to a sense of normality for those clients who previously took part in our activities before the pandemic and it has also really helped to open additional lines of communication with some new clients.
The project has succeeded in creating a lovely atmosphere on a Monday afternoon. Clients have grown in confidence and developed a good rapport with each other as well as those others supporting the group. As well as providing participants with a greater understanding of cookery skills and nutrition, the sessions provide a safe space and a friendly environment for clients to discuss any of their worries or needs.
“The cookery project gave me a great deal of pleasure in several ways. After many years of cooking and teaching it was great to go back to them, I have always enjoyed Catching Lives because you get to meet interesting characters (both sides of the hotplate). The clients must, of course, speak for themselves but I feel that continuing to come every week shows enthusiasm and commitment. Also, tasks they found difficult at the beginning became natural to them as we progressed ie mixing, weighing rolling etc. I should finish by saying that during all of the sessions a great many fascinating experiences, questions and help came from all of the clients.”
Martin Edwards, 75 yrs old. Cookery Teacher Volunteer
“Cooking and baking brings people joy and pleasure and is suitable for people with all levels of skills. From an Occupational Therapy perspective, the cooking groups that are run on a weekly basis are a productive activity that provide clients at the day centre with a great opportunity to develop their cooking and food preparation skills with guidance from an experienced chef, and importantly, it is a way of encouraging people to socialise with others. The cooking group promotes independence and builds confidence and self-esteem, contributing to a positive wellbeing.“
Shannon Murray, 3rd Year student BSc in Occupational Therapy CCCU