31 Mar 2021 That’s a wrap! Look Who’s Cooking comes to a cracking end
Our virtual cooking course designed to support unpaid carers in Liverpool has sadly come to an end today after months of helping carers cook up a storm from the safety of their own home. As the project comes to an end, we reflect on the impact Look Who’s Cooking has had in some of our most resilient communities.
The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated everyone’s stress levels, especially unpaid carers, who have a challenging job under normal circumstances juggling care amongst other life priorities. Covid-19 has presented a number of barriers for carers across the UK, such as accessing and cooking healthy food. More than 100,000 people caring unpaid for older or disabled relatives are using food banks to get by, and almost 229,000 unpaid carers have had someone in their household go hungry during lockdown. Overall, these figures paint a worrying picture of unpaid carers under intolerable pressure during this already difficult time.
“I found the cooking course very useful not only did it teach me new meals. All healthy but it gave me something to look forward to in the hard times in the last year with covid and being a full-time carer.” Dave
In summer 2020, Food Active and the Liverpool Carers Centre joined forces to start planning how we could best support unpaid carers in Liverpool, and their families, to access healthy and nutritious food, learn new skills and gain confidence in the kitchen – all from the comfort and safety of their own home. After months of development and consultation with carers themselves, together we launched a new virtual cooking course designed specifically for carers called ‘Look Who’s Cooking’.
Carers were approached and recruited by the Liverpool Carers Centres existing network of contacts across the city region. The course consisted of a weekly one-hour ‘cook-a-long’ session for six weeks, delivered twice a week at different times and days to accommodate people’s varying schedules, hosted on Zoom by one of Food Active’s registered associate nutritionists (ANutr with the AfN) to guide the carers through the recipe, step by step.
“Enjoyed it, great course Beth explained it in easy-to-follow steps, and learnt 6 new meals thank you ✌️” Peter
Every week carers had a doorstop visit from one of the carers centre staff to deliver their weekly food parcel, including all the equipment and ingredients they need to prepare this week’s recipe. Also in the food parcel was a series of handouts to provide useful hints and tips on how to make healthy choices in our diet and in the kitchen. The doorstop visit was also a chance to have a socially-distanced catch up with a friendly face.
The weekly recipes were designed to be simple to follow, easy to make, low cost, healthy and most importantly – delicious. The meals we cooked up included:
- Speedy Mackerel Fishcakes
- Easy Greek Spinach and Feta Pie
- Mexican Chicken Rice
- Risotto with Barley, Peas, Mushroom and Bacon
- Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry
- No-fuss Apple Strudel
The impact? We are currently working through the quantitative evaluation data, but initial qualitative feedback has been extremely positive – and despite having to navigate some slight technological issues at points (you’re on mute!) – for many of the carers, it was something to look forward to, when there is very little that one can do. A new challenge, a new favourite dish, a new skill in a time where our options are so very limited.
“So it was a sense that there was someone out there who cared……I have not really reached out for help before and this course showed me that there are organisations and individuals out there who are extremely willing and able to help…….plus it was good fun!” David
As with many smaller grants, projects must come to an end despite the impact they are having. But given the success of Look Who’s Cooking, we are working with the Liverpool Carers Centre to source new additional funding to continue to support carers as enter a new phase of Covid-19 and hopefully a slow recovery from the pandemic. Now more than ever we need to provide more support for.
An important legacy of the project was to help engage carers further with the fantastic support the Liverpool Carers Centre provide, even in spite of the Covid-19 lockdown. The Carers Centre has continued to a wide range of health and wellbeing activities virtually; including mindfulness courses, quiz socials and yoga. Through engagement in Look Who’s Cooking, the Centre has set up a new ‘Caveman Chat’ weekly coffee morning for male carers with many of our chefs attending – which is fantastic.
Finally, we will be producing an online YouTube channel for Look Who’s Cooking, to host catch up sessions and producing an online recipe booklet to share widely – so watch this space!
If you would like to find out more about the programme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org