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Course a recipe for success

A culinary course for men over the age of 65 has helped residents in the Rochford district raise their confidence in the kitchen, make new friends and improve their diet.

Sanctuary Housing and Rochford District Council provided funding for Radish Cookery to deliver the ‘Man with a Pan’ course, teaching participants basic kitchen skills and essentials to prepare their own fresh, healthy meals.

The course also featured a strong social element, with participants discussing healthy eating in older age and sitting together to enjoy the meals they prepared.

Maurice Smithson, 66, wanted to improve his kitchen skills as he is now retired and so takes care of more of the cooking for his wife and son at home.

He said: “I do a lot of the cooking but before it was mainly opening packets and cans. Being able to extend that a little bit more has been of great benefit.

“I’ve certainly taken away some new skills from it and the benefits of being able to prepare more meals from scratch using fresh ingredients speak for themselves.”

Maurice says the course also had other benefits beyond the practical skills it taught.

He added: “It’s not just the cooking side of it but the social element as well. We all got on very well and shared some laughs along the way.

“Several of the people on the course had never really done any cooking, so for them or for people who might live on their own I think something like this can make a huge difference.”

Sanctuary part-funded the course through its Community Investment Fund, which supports projects in the local communities where it operates.

During 2018/2019 Sanctuary invested £1.4 million in community projects, with benefits including 5,505 people developing a new skill and 1,756 people accessing training.

More about how Sanctuary invests in local communities can be found in its 2018/2019 Impact Report.

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Men over the age of 65 have taken part in a culinary course to raise their confidence in the kitchen, make new friends and improve their diet.