Cozy Kitchen Lunch Club (2018 - Ongoing)
Funded by Involving Medway, we piloted Cozy Kitchen (CKLC), a community Lunch Club, in partnership with our member Ying Tao Chinese Association, bringing together 10-14 Chinese older adults (65+) providing ethnically compatible, tasty, nutritious, subsidised, midday meals in a familial friendly setting. They meet weekly at a local restaurant to improve their social connections, their physical, mental and emotional health and well-being. They share experiences, ideas, information about events, signpost, receive advice and support to resolve any issues they may face.
The lunches, prepared in Rendevous at Yoons restaurant (5* food hygiene rating) are simple and have the appropriate balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fibre for the age group. The food served have a high nutritional value to support the immune system and good health
For beneficiaries with transportation problems, Ying Tao has arranged for 2 volunteer drivers and buddying/ car share scheme.
Our sincere thanks to Pauline Yau, YTCA, and Candy Jenkins, Yoon’s Restaurant, for day to day running of the Club, organising activities and getting the beneficiaries, Beth Atkins for assisting Project Manager Rupa with general supervision, evaluation and lending a hand with everything In general.
"Felt good to be part of the lunch club making a difference to people's lives and helping its sustainability and further development" - Volunteer driver
"I now have a reason to dress up and go out to meet new people with confidence"
OUTCOMES AND IMPACTS
Before discovering CKLC, older members of the Chinese Community felt isolated being thinly spread across Medway and having little opportunity to meet other people with the same cultural background, common language, interests or experiences. This was compounded by a strong desire to remain independent and not become a burden to their children.
Beneficiaries have people of a similar age, culture, mindset and language to talk to about family, pastimes, events and current affairs.
They have enjoyed a joint outing with the Ying Tao Dancers to Tower Bridge. The CKLC members were able to self- fund their trip due to the generosity of the volunteer drivers who donated their Time Credits to the group, to offset the cost of entrance fees. They are now planning a trip to the Tower of London and the Sky Garden.
Lack of English language skills has been a barrier to joining other groups for older adults with our evaluation records showing 40% No English, 40% Speak some English, 10% Speak fluently, read and write and 10% Speak well and read. CKLC helped to minimise this problem.
CKLC members are building a strong sense of community with everyone booked to attend the 'Spirit of Medway" event at the Brook Theatre on 14th September 2019. Also, some of the members, with the help of a translator, developed the confidence to have a Health Check, at the Smoke Free Centre in Chatham. Without CKLC the members would not have taken advantage of the Health Checks independently.
The volunteer drivers have also come up trumps by giving their fuel expenses back to CKLC to help its sustainability and further development.
EVERYONE feels positive benefit, an improved sense of well-being and community by attending CKLC. They all want the group to continue and thrive. They have found something that has made a positive difference to their lives.
"I regained self-confidence, sense of belonging & community because I had become isolated staying at home to look after dependant relatives" - A Carer
"With CKLC we had the benefit of having free Health checks, visited the Tower Bridge & earned Time Credits"