What's happening with Food for Life Get Togethers

There have been hundreds of Food for Life Get Togethers taking place across the country. Here are just a few of our highlights:

Community supper in Cardiff

Children and adults sharing a mealWild Thing café is a social enterprise that aims to get people eating more veg, reduce our impact on the environment and fight food poverty.

During the 2019 school summer holidays, Wild Thing hosted two free community suppers. The first one was for a pupils from a local primary school who had participated in the School Holiday Enrichment Programme and their families, and the next was aimed at a secondary school and community members.

The meal was made from food that would have otherwise been thrown away and veg grown at the local allotments.

After the success of their first Get Together last summer, Wild Thing now host fortnightly community suppers, cooking classes and nutrition courses.

“The community supper Get Togethers will provide free meals for the community but also aim to tackle isolation and healthy eating, whilst aiming to provide volunteer skills to gain employability skills & experience,” said Lauren Saunders, owner of Wild Thing.

To find out more about hosting a Get Together in Cardiff, get in touch with Louise Shute, Local Programme Manager.

An eye-opening afternoon tea in Hull

People enjoying a Get TogetherAge UK Hull held an afternoon tea for their befriending volunteers in December. This was their first Get Together and the first time they had reached out to the wider community.

Hull is a city rich in social history and culture, but stories of the past are not always uplifting. Locals remember the devastation that the loss of the fishing industry caused and the hardships their families faced. In today’s Hull, Adelaide Primary is a school where pupils speak 40 languages between them. For migrant children, leaving their families behind can be lonely.  

The older people were filled with joy at sharing time and conversation with these children and were fascinated by their questions and their eagerness to engage with the older people.  At the end of the Get Together the teacher asked the children to share something they had learned and so many hands shot up.

“'I learnt that it doesn't matter what your past has been, where you have come from.  It matters where you are heading and what your future will become,” said one year six pupil.

To find out more about hosting a Get Together in Hull, get in touch with Anne Merry, Regional Engagement Officer, or register today.

Hollywood Primary School & Anita Stone Court, Birmingham 

Dining together in BirminghamResidents from Anita Stone Court care home had been visiting children from Hollywood Primary once a week before their first Get Together. The older people and pupils had formed bonds over planting seeds, cooking, storytelling and singing.

On the day of their Get Together, one little girl asked if she could stand at the front and sing for everyone on her own, which she did beautifully. Seeing the teachers tear up, we learned that this same pupil had spent her first year at school refusing to speak – not even answering at registration. The teachers had tried everything to encourage her without success. “Meeting the older people and making friends with one of the residents was a turning point. Teachers heard her voice for the first time at the care home,” said Valerie Meehan, Regional Engagement Officer for Get Togethers in Birmingham.  

The residents enjoyed spending time with the children, too. Those who were usually less social began participating when the children were present. One resident with dementia remembered the child they were partnered with after the sessions and asked when they’d be coming again.  

To find out more about hosting a Get Together in Birmingham, get in touch with Valerie Meehan, Regional Engagement Officer.

Feeling inspired? Register your Food for Life Get Together now.

Food and education come together in Lincoln academy

Lincoln community lunch

When Washingborough's forget-me-not club closed, it left a gap in the community. People living with and caring for people with dementia lost valuable opportunities to socialise.

Enter Washingborough Academy. Since November 2018, the school has been inviting older locals to dine with the students to share freshly cooked food and stories of how village life has changed over the decades. Since their first gathering, where 40 people showed up, the events have grown in popularity.

During the first meal the students presented their WW2 learnings with the older guests who in turn talked about their experiences of living through war time. One attendee who has always lived in the village remembered the school being shut down for the day so that the students could help a local farmer harvest his pea crop.

Head teacher Jason O’Rourke is passionate about combining food, education and community, and says, “One attendee said he hadn’t been out for three weeks and loved the event. It’s an opportunity for the children to learn from older members of the community, which is brilliant for the children and the adults. Its win-win on every point.”

How they did it

The event was advertised via word-of mouth with one of the school governors having been the local pharmacist and therefore being well connected across the village.

He signed up volunteers using a sheet to make sure of numbers. The food prepared was catered to the tastes of the older residents with Gammon and stuffing being prepared by Washingborough’s in-house chef.

Attendees paid £5 for a two-course meal and were able to buy homemade bread, jam and marmalade to take home with them.

To find out more about hosting a Get Together in your school, get in touch with Ali on agriffet@soilassociation.org today.

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