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Wellbeing

A recipe for progress

“We heard about one young lad in Buckinghamshire, who was on the verge of just completely dropping out from society. He attended one of our cooking sessions at a youth club, and loved it so much that he’s now working in a café. That’s a positive outcome.”

This is the kind of story that James Shepherd is starting to hear more of. Eighteen months ago, he and two others set up the Let’s Cook Project (LCP), a social enterprise that seeks to equip people with the skills and confidence to cook from scratch. It’s an activity that has a host of benefits for both individuals and society at large, from improving physical and mental health, to reducing social isolation, decreasing food waste, and enhancing community cohesion.

The project operates in two ways. Firstly, they train up representatives from local organisations, who then provide practical cooking lessons within their own communities. But James and his colleagues also engage in some ‘direct delivery’, running cooking sessions themselves at a local level.

“That ensures that we don’t become too detached from the project’s purpose, and the needs of our own users,” he explains. “For example, currently I’m running a group that includes young mothers, who perhaps don’t have the life skills required to take on their new responsibilities.”

The Let’s Cook Project is based in Cambridge, but they work nationally, outsourcing the training work to a network of ‘trusted partners’. From a housing association in Merseyside, to students at the University of Leicester, James says that they go wherever the need is. Since the consumption of convenience foods in the UK has been on the rise for many years, it seems that the likes of LCP are providing a vital service.

“People might lack the skills, the time, or they simply might not enjoy cooking from scratch,” says James. “We try to foster some joy, and see what’s achievable. If we can get people eating one meal a week that involves preparing fresh ingredients, then that’s a battle won. Maybe not the war, but it’s very much going in the right direction.”

Are you a cookery trainer, or any kind of business addressing community health issues? The Let’s Cook Project want to work with you. Get in contact at james.shepherd@letscookproject.org / 07973 871580.

By Theo Hooper

Inspired? Check out more Smiley News, start your own project or get matching!

Categories
Wellbeing

Burlesque social enterprise

“Troupe mamma”, or leader, Caroline Adkins suffers from health problems including arthritis and osteoporosis.

She says performing improves her well-being, while other troupe members say it boosts their self-esteem.

The group, Bump N Grind, plans to become a social enterprise, a business that reinvests or donates its profits.

They describe themselves as the Highlands’ first burlesque troupe.

At present the group has five members. They are Caroline, who is known on stage as Evelyn Adore, also Emma MacKenzie aka Candy Kitten, Rowan Drever who performs as Lady Ivy, Cody Ross aka Moonstone Cherry and Rhianna Bain who performs as Miss Rhi Von Bee.

Burlesque is a genre of variety show and features music, song and dance routines.

BBC Scotland’s The Nine caught up with Bump N Grind during one of their rehearsals.

Original article by BBC News

Categories
Culture Wellbeing

Turning disused buildings into studios

Twenty-seven-year-olds Josh Field and Ollie Tobin, and Roland Fischer-Vousden, 28, are school friends with a passion for the arts.

In 2014, just before completing their undergraduate degrees in London, they realised that they would struggle to realise their dreams of becoming working creatives, because there was nowhere for them to work.

The creation of large-scale art pieces and music often requires space, industrial tools and the freedom to make a lot of noise.

None of these things are possible at urban residential properties, and studio space is very expensive.

Original article by Mary-Ann Russon – Source BBC News

Photo by Joseph DeFrancisco on Unsplash

Categories
Wellbeing

Sowing the seeds of personal growth

It was perhaps inevitable that Paul Herrington would one day set up the business that he has. For many years he had parallel careers, working as both a psychiatric nurse, and as a professional garden designer (once winning a medal at the Chelsea Flower Show). When he hung up his nursing jacket for good, it seemed only natural to combine his two skill sets and establish a project that promotes the therapeutic benefits of gardening.

So in 2014 he started Grow Places, a social enterprise based in Cambridge that designs, develops and nurtures gardens in care homes, hospitals and other community projects – with a focus on improving the mental and physical health of the participants.

“There are two layers to it,” says Paul. “You can provide some beautiful gardens for people to enjoy and benefit from, but the benefits are more than doubled if those people are also creating and maintaining the garden.

“For many, it’s about feeling less isolated,” he adds. “The gardening process helps people to engage with others.”

There is a large and ever-increasing body of scientific evidence that attests to the therapeutic benefits of gardening and being outdoors, and Paul often witnesses the effects first-hand.

“For people with dementia, gardens can really help to unlock things. They might be able to say something lucid about a plant, like when it should be pruned, or what memories it evokes. Those kind of mental connections are really powerful.”

Generally working as a “one-man band,” Paul Herrington draws upon a varied network of support if he needs to, links established through both his health service and gardening work. With funding from a range of sources – from hospital budgets to the European Social Fund – he likes to stay local, and only takes on projects that have the potential to enable further involvement for the participants.

“If it goes well, I can step back and they can be up and running with it,” he says. “That’s the most enjoyable part for me. Seeing how the participants prosper, making connections with each other and acquiring new skills. The gardens are just a vehicle for that personal development.”

If you want to know more about Grow Places, get in contact via their website or phone 07988 740456.

By Theo Hooper

Inspired? Check out more Smiley News, start your own project or get matching!

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Categories
Wellbeing

Art Therapy

The idea of receiving psychotherapy in a museum might seem unusual. However, art psychotherapists are increasingly looking towards the rich resources of museums and galleries to aid them in their clinical work.

Art therapy, or art psychotherapy, sees people expressing their feelings and experiences through art, as well as (or instead of) through words. It can be used to help people of all ages, living with a wide range of emotional or physical conditions.

NHS art psychotherapists usually work in designated therapy rooms in hospitals or outpatient centres, but for our recent study we wanted to explore how conducting art psychotherapy in a museum could be beneficial to a group with complex mental health difficulties.

Research has found that people “see themselves” in museum objects, and that reflecting on our responses to objects can tell us something about ourselves. For example, an object can evoke powerful emotions, or symbolise an aspect of our current or past experiences. So we wanted to tap into museum objects to help our participants develop greater self-understanding. To our knowledge, this was the first time that museum objects would be used for this kind of art psychotherapy for adults accessing NHS mental health services.

We predicted, based on findings from arts in health and art therapy case studies, that a museum setting could help inspire creativity among group members. There is also evidence that a non-clinical space could help people to feel more connected to each other and their local community, and less “set apart” by their mental health difficulties.

Working for ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, we delivered a programme for seven adults aged 18-25 at two museums in Gloucester over 18 weeks. Each session lasted for 90 minutes and started and finished in a private education room at the museums.

Original article by Alison Coles – Source The Independent

Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels

Categories
Culture Wellbeing

Brick by brick

David Aguilar has built himself a robotic prosthetic arm using Lego pieces after being born without a right forearm due to a rare genetic condition.

Aguilar, 19, who studies bioengineering at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Spain, is already using his fourth model of the colorful prosthetic and his dream is to design affordable robotic limbs for those who need them.

Original article by Pilar Suárez – Source Reuters

Categories
Planet Wellbeing

Plastic boat raises pollution awareness

The dhows, with their swollen triangular veils, are an icon on the Kenyan coast, having crossed these waters of the Indian Ocean for about 2,000 years.

With its characteristic triangular sail, this boat, having embarked on an expedition along the East African coast, has almost everything from traditional dhow.

Ali Skanda is builder of the ‘Flipflopi:’ “We had this dream of doing plastic dhow, as we are doing so much in the world, and we feel it’s our responsibility to make this solution, because we are polluting our environment, many creatures are suffering from this jungle of plastic.”

The Flipflopi was built thanks to plastic waste collected especially on Kenyan beaches.

Source africanews

Categories
Wellbeing

The sky’s the limit

It’s a building project with towering ambitions—to use all 17 of the UN’s Global Goals as a sustainability blueprint for a 35,000-square-metre eco-village being built on the southern outskirts of Copenhagen.

Amid dire warnings about the need to rapidly rein in carbon dioxide emissions, Danish architects Lendager Group, and project partners Årstiderne Arkitekter, want their 400-home development in Ørestad South to set a new standard for sustainable construction.

“We see the Sustainable Development Goals as a global tool with a holistic approach to the world’s sustainability challenges. A tool and a language that can be understood across sectors and countries,” Lendager says in its project description for the UN17 Village development.

Source UN Environment

Categories
Equality Wellbeing

‘I hope Kanye samples it’

It’s 11am on Friday morning and there are some weird and wonderful psychedelic sounds emanating from a small, makeshift music studio in north London. Inside, Patricia Angol is playing the xylophone, Mui Tang is touching a Kaoss Pad – an audio effects unit – and Fathima Maharali is singing into a microphone. When they finish, their session leader, Jack Daley, fiddles on a computer, overlaying each musical section before playing it back. There are smiles and high-fives all round.

Categories
Wellbeing

Smiles all round!

Smile Together CIC is to open a dental centre designed and adapted for patients with special needs, having secured £1m in investment from Big Issue Invest (BII).

The new site, in Cornwall, will open by the summer.

Resonance, which helps organisations to become investment ready and to raise funding, advised Smile Together on the investment.

Smile Together – formed in 2016, and shortlisted in last year’s UK Social Enterprise Awards – secured the investment from BII in late 2018, in the form of an unsecured eight-year fixed interest loan, with capital repayments not starting until year four.

The investment will finance the refurbishment of a former grammar school, which the community interest company (CIC) has purchased itself, into a purpose-built dental centre designed and adapted for patients with special needs, including mental health conditions and autism. The new site will increase local access to competitively-priced and fully accessible dental services, and will see children for free.