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Talking Tables

This project was run by LinkAge

What was the project?

Delivery of a series of group cookery sessions in collaboration with three of Bristol’s city farms to offer social opportunities, encourage enjoyment in food and improve the nutrition of participants.


What did the project do?

The project ran eight series of cookery sessions in 2018-19 and 2019-2020 at the three farms (Lawrence Weston Community Farm, St Werburghs City Farm and Windmill Hill City Farm). The cooking sessions aimed to support people aged 50+ with the skills and knowledge to feel confident to cook nutritious and tasty food. The sessions also provide participants with the opportunity to meet and socialise with other local people.


How to get in touch

For further information about this project please email or ring 0117 928 1539


Why did BAB fund it?

In the first few years, BAB commissioned 25 pilot projects to test different methods of group work and peer support. We worked with the delivery partners to review the projects, looking for what worked well, how older people felt about the projects and what should change if it was repeated. 

A common point of learning was that if you can increase someone’s wellbeing and confidence, then this will have a positive effect on reducing their social isolation.

A number of the pilots centred around food and the most successful projects encouraged participants to set the menus, cook the food and eat together.

BAB wanted projects that sought address the issues of social isolation and improves older people’s level of social contact through a series of activities that uses food, nutrition and shared meals as the core part of the deliver.


Project news and learning

The project engaged with 100 individuals across the two years and three city farm locations and was oversubscribed several times. To ensure they could benefit as many older people as possible, LinkAge prioritised new participants each term – meaning more people were able to gain cookery skills and make new friendships than if current participants were automatically enrolled for future terms. However, this shows the level of need for this kind of project, not just to give people the skills and knowledge to cook for themselves, but to give older people the opportunity to cook and eat together in a community setting and to be involved in the design and delivery of social activities. Unfortunately, the last few scheduled sessions at one farm were cancelled due to COVID-19, but all farms hope to restart cookery classes for older people once safe to do so.

Read UWE’s final evaluation of Bristol Meets the World and Talking Tables: Community-supported shared meals in Bristol

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