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  • medwaydiversityforum

Golden Buddies (2019 - Ongoing)

Funded by Awards for All, Golden Buddies is a new 12-month project to bring together, through therapeutic cooking and woodwork, men who are 55+, recently retired or bereaved, struggling to look after themselves, and those suffering from mild to moderate stress, anxiety and depression. This project is unique as no such activity exists in Medway for ethnic minority men.

The programme includes:

  • 15 cookery and 12 woodwork workshops

  • Thematic workshops, such as, lunch ideas, vegetarian cooking, low calorie snacks for children, and making meals for £5

  • Training in Food Hygiene to prepare food safely for their family & community events

  • Publish a recipe book, documenting multi-cuisine healthy recipes learnt at the cookery sessions, and share them among their community members

  • End of project Exhibition with cookery & woodwork demonstrations to share participants’ learning & experience with others.

Beneficiaries will run majority of the activities including choosing woodwork products to make, collecting recipes, marketing, setting up workshops.

We have started this project in response to our recent MDF needs analysis survey, where 120 members surveyed indicated 40% wanted gender specific healthy eating cookery workshops & 35% wanted art & craft activities. They felt cooking & craft can be a doorway to connection bringing people together, who struggle with social contact & the act of sharing one’s creation can be really powerful.

Positive feedback and just seeing someone else enjoy, appreciate and value your creation has major implications for rebuilding one’s self of worth and value.

The group has already learnt to make Fajita wraps, Chinese noodles, Spring rolls, Indian curries, South Indian pancakes and side dishes, pizza from scratch and many more to come.

The outcomes we want to achieve are:

  1. Reduce isolation by 60% by supporting residents to attend regular social/ community activities, providing vital companionship and improved access to support services.

  2. Emotional boost for those who suffer from a sense of disconnection and loss of relevance when they are no longer able to do all of the things that they used to do for their families. Cooking, even if it is a simple recipe, is a way for them to enjoy a sense of accomplishment and enjoy a boost of feeling valuable and important in the lives of those they love.

  3. Improve mental health by 45% by building self-esteem and confidence because majority are quite vulnerable and do not engage in mainstream provisions. This project will allow them to take part because it is delivered by people they know and feel safe with.

  4. Empower beneficiaries by involving them in the design, content & delivery of the project, enabling them to accomplish tasks initially felt to be challenging and taking pride in their creations.

  5. Develop healthy eating habits- less reliant on family members & fast/ready-made meals.

We would like to thank Sanjay Joshi, Mallika Sundaram, Harish Patel and Pauline Yau for volunteering their time to teach the group cooking.


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