A group of young people with disabilities are sharpening up their culinary skills thanks to a link with public health dietitians.
The Come and Cook sessions in Anglesey aim to help those with learning disabilities to live an independent life and also understand how to make tasty and healthy meals.
The seven-week scheme is run by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s public health dietetic team with groups across north west Wales.
The latest to partner with BCUHB is Anglesey-based Taran, which provides training and support for disadvantaged and disabled adults.
At the sessions at Llangefni Church Hall they are taught how to cook a range of healthy snacks and light meals including soups and stews, cheesy rolls and tasty wraps. Once completed, those taking part gain a Level 1 accredited qualification through the WEA.
The course, designed to promote healthy eating, is being led by BCUHB dietitians who are passing on important nutritional information as well as teaching cookery basics.
BCUHB public health dietitian Iona Jones and dietetic assistant Anwen Weightman says there’s been an enthusiastic response from those taking part.
Anwen said: “It is the first time we have run this course here in Anglesey but just three weeks in we are already finding it is very beneficial for the young people involved.
“It is very rewarding for us to see them learning such important new skills, which they can hopefully continue to practice and build upon at home.
“It can also be quite challenging as we are preparing lunch for everyone at the Taran sessions in a fairly small church hall kitchen.”
Everyone who has tucked into one of the resulting meals has so far enjoyed the new array of flavours.
Claire Louise Jones from Valley said making the herby cheesy rolls to accompany leek and potato soup was a real treat.
“I’ve not made bread like this before. We normally just get it from the supermarket,” she laughed. “So I’m really looking forward to seeing what it tastes like.”
Sioned Jones, of Rhostrehwfa, said: “I enjoyed learning how to properly knead the dough, even though it was a bit messy.”
Her cousin Laura Jones was also looking forward to the prospect of tucking into a healthy lunch.
Laura said: “I’m trying to be on a diet at the moment to lose some weight so I want to know all about which foods are the healthiest to cook and eat. So this course is really useful. I think it will help me a lot not just now but in the future as well.”
The course also includes hints on how to make informed choices based on a healthy balanced diet and the messages of the eat-well plate, while shopping.
Taran group leader Sue Gordon-Roberts said the seven week Come and Cook course was very popular with the young members. She said: “It is something different for them to learn and also a huge confidence builder as they get to see – and taste – the results of their hard efforts at the end of the session.
“We are very grateful to BCUHB’s dietetic team for putting so much time and energy in. As a group we try as much as possible to vary the opportunities available to our young people, but funds are quite limited so we are always grateful for any organisations who can support us.”
Taran is a not-for-profit organisation providing support and training in social skills development, independent living skills, confidence building, job seeking, educational and leisure activities. It is open to all vulnerable adults on Anglesey – call 01407 721933 for more information about the group.