A recent Christmas cooking demonstration with elderly residents from Clipstone Hall & Lodge care home in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, celebrated ten months working together with the vibrant local community regeneration project Feel Good Foods.
Over the past year, the Ollerton and District Economic Forum (ODEF) funded project, has been organising regular events for residents from the home to take part in. From planting seeds on their own community garden plot, to cooking up soup from their own produce, or taking part in a lively tasting, the majority of the residents in the 90-bed home have benefitted in some way from this partnership.
“This has been such a positive and beneficial relationship for the residents in our home.” Said Emma Strutt, Peripatetic Manager, Orchard Care Homes, “The volunteers and organisers of Feel Good Foods have created a family community here in Mansfield, it’s a very personal experience. A number of our residents, such as Betty, love going out to the allotment, and they just get on with it, working together, talking about past memories and doing something practical and enjoyable.”
The Feel Good Foods project has been running since 2009, and works to unite people of all ages and abilities to promote independence through an array of indoor and outdoor activities. The activities vary throughout the year and include sowing seeds, planting, potting, arts and crafts and more.
Clipstone Hall & Lodge engaged with the project to improve the health and wellbeing of residents and reduce isolation and loneliness. Different residents have the opportunity to visit the hub every fortnight, with some choosing to attend sessions more regularly. For these residents, the sessions have become a familiar and welcome routine, and the close relationship between volunteers and residents is evident.
Comments Carol White, Project Officer, ODEF, “The residents at Clipstone Hall & Lodge have planted hundreds of seeds in our garden since our sessions started back in February. They really enjoy watching their produce grow and seeing the end result. Everything we grow gets shared with all those who are active in our gardens, so it’s a really lovely way of bringing the community together and meeting new people”.
The recent cooking demonstration held at the home focused on festive traditions and Christmas foods, including the making and tasting of mince pies, using fruit mincemeat made from garden apples, and homemade stollen. Residents were encouraged to exercise their senses – smelling and tasting various spices. One resident reminisced about her career in nursing and told the group that she often worked over Christmas, whilst another spoke about her large family gatherings and her mother’s home cooking.
Whilst the session began with ten residents, the enticing aromas and lively discussion soon attracted a full room with over twenty participants and generated a feel good atmosphere from Feel Good Foods.
The charity’s community garden near Sherwood Pines, ten minutes from the home, offers a sanctuary for people to come and spend time using the lending library, gardening or just enjoying the ornate vegetable gardens, which are spread over four acres. The group is funded by Nottinghamshire County Council and the People’s Postcode Lottery, and is maintained through donations and grants. All the activities and gardens are run by volunteers.