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Cookery for Carers

Portsmouth City Council

Many of us struggle to sustain a healthy diet, but the added responsibility of caring for a loved one can make food choices an afterthought. This year, nearly half of carers responding to our State of Caring survey said they struggle to maintain a balanced diet whilst 6 in 10 said their physical health had worsened since they started caring.

When this ill-health is coupled with the emotional strain of loneliness and isolation, caring can feel like an up-hill battle. That is why Portsmouth City Council’s Carer's Breaks Cookery sessions for carers are such an important opportunity for bringing together carers who want to make healthy quick and easy meals whilst forming friendships and ties to their community.

Just like many other skills based classes, Carer's Breaks Cookery sessions have the power to make a huge difference to the confidence, outlook, and wellbeing of people who feel isolated. Having attended a cookery session 100% of attendees said that having the chance to learn new skills alongside others cooking in a mixed group of men and women of different ages was a “quality break from their caring role” and that it gave them the “opportunity to meet other carers” improving their ability to cook healthy, affordable, food in a fun way.

Carers Breaks Cookery sessions are delivered by Jayne Gentle from the Independence and Wellbeing Team at Portsmouth City Council supported by volunteers. 579 sessions have been enjoyed by carers in the past year encompassing various cooking styles from recipes from around the world to bread making. For many carers, time spent socialising has to be meticulously planned and justified, with nearly half of carers surveyed by Carers UK saying they felt lonely “as they didn’t get to leave the house very much”, so freedom to choose classes that are right for everyone is vital.

Speaking about the Carers Breaks Cookery sessions, one carer explained: “For many years, due to my caring role and health problems, I have been very socially isolated. Although as of yet I have only attended 2 sessions, already this has lifted my mood."

Team Manager of the initiative Clare Rachwal, explained:

“We work with a lot of people who aren’t used to investing their time or energy into their own needs, and even an hour a week can make a big difference to people who don’t often have the time to build bonds with new friends as quickly as they would like.

By joining people with similar social expectations, experiences, and levels of understanding, groups usually keep in touch and stay close enough friends to support each other even once the courses finish.”

To find out more about Cookery for Carers and whether you may be eligible, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit facebook.com/portsmouthcarerscentre to find out about upcoming opportunities. If you want to search for similar services in your area, check Carers UK’s local directory to find out more.

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