Who We Are
BAB is a partnership of individuals and organisations working together to reduce isolation and loneliness among older people in Bristol.
About the project:
Bristol Meets the World is a project that encourages cultural exchange through cooking, shared meals and food-related workshops and talks. The group supports individuals to feel less lonely and socially isolated through a peer support setting.
Bristol Meets the World goes out to various community groups and supported living providers to run cooking workshops. Anchor Hanover Housing is one such partner who now run the workshops monthly. Recent sessions have focused on the food and cultures from several Asian and South East Asian countries including India, China, Indonesia and more.
So far, Anchor Hanover have delivered 22 sessions to a group of approximately 10-15 participants. One of the biggest successes Anchor Hanover has achieved is building a dedicated base of participants who regularly attend and enjoy the sessions. Jean and Chris are two participants who regularly attend.
Stories from participants: Jean and Chris
Jean’s sense of smell and taste have lessened over the years, she can only taste very strong flavours like sweet and spicy. Jean’s favourite dish so far has been the Onde Onde dessert from Indonesia made by the tutor Heriaty, which she thought was “very nice”.
Jean enjoys coming to the sessions because she believes that they are more than just about cookery and nutrition. Jean said, “‘I’ve been here at Blaise Weston Court for five years but I still don’t know all the residents! Coming to the sessions has introduced me to some people I hadn’t met before.”
Jean is planning on attending and volunteering at the Bristol Meets the World special event at Cabot Circus in 2020. This will be the first time she ventures out of Blaise Weston Court since she moved to the home.
Chris has had a number of serious medical conditions in recent years, which have affected her wellbeing and happiness, including experiencing depression following the death of her long-term partner. Chris has said that engaging with the cookery programme is something positive in her life that she can look forward to.
Chris said, “I used to love cooking and would cook often but now I can’t remember the steps of how to cook as I have short term memory loss. Coming to the sessions reminds me of cooking and allows me to try to remember and pick up the skills I once had. After the past few years, this project is like a light in a dark tunnel, it has allowed me to conjure up some remembrance of the past.”
Chris has engaged with the project by not only re-learning how to cook, but also by gaining enough confidence to volunteer in leading a session for the project in October (with some assistance from a helper). She will be cooking a traditional Hungarian dish called ‘Rántott hús’.
Bristol Meets the World and their partners have learnt that the more feedback that is taken on board by the facilitators, the more engaged the participants are. For example, participants said they were interested in learning simple recipes that they would be able to replicate themselves. When simpler recipes were introduced the sessions had higher levels of engagement which also helped to create a good rapport between the facilitators and the participants.
A difficulty the project encountered was working together with five new delivery partners who all had their own priorities regarding the project. One solution to this was to ensure everyone had the opportunity to attend quarterly steering group meetings where they could feedback to one another, adapt strategies, and refocus aims and targets so as to improve organisation and delivery of the programme.
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