Cooking and Company

Cooking and Company is a nutrition and social inclusion project to improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of older male carers in Liverpool, kindly funded by the BUPA UK Foundation. The project has been designed, developed and delivered by Food Active, Local Solutions and carers themselves.
Why Cooking and Company?
More men than women over 65 are unpaid carers, yet they are far less likely to seek support. In terms of nutrition, carers report ‘less time to cook’ or ‘less interest in food’ as barriers to cooking healthy meals at home. Caring can be very lonely, with older men finding it difficult to talk, and caring often results in the loss of support networks.
After consulting with a group of older male carers, it was uncovered that their caring role had impacted on their eating habits, with skills in the kitchen and understanding of healthy eating were poor. There was huge interest in attending courses that involved practical cooking sessions, information and tips on healthy eating and food skills, as well as an opportunity to socialise with like-minded individuals.

In Summer 2019, Food Active delivered four six-week cooking courses, engaging with over thirty older male carers.

Once the cooking sessions had come to a close, we trained up five members of staff at Liverpool Carers Centre (within Local Solutions) who will continue to deliver the programme post-funding, and incorporate this as part of their existing programme of activities and classes for carers.

We have also developed an online toolkit which contains information, advice and practical support for older male carers.

A really valuable course that has informed and encouraged me to expand my cooking and care for my wife.
Carer, 72
How effective is Cooking and Company?

Throughout the programme, data was collected to measure changes in dietary behaviours, knowledge and mental health at baseline and again after the six week course had been completed. We also evaluated the quality of the train-the-trainer programme. Preliminary data indicates the programme has been highly successful in increasing knowledge and skills in the kitchen, as well as making good friends. All sets of data are currently being evaluated as part of a wider evaluation of the whole project, and will be shared on this page as soon as it is ready.

I have gained good friends and learned how to cook.
Carer, 75
More Information

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