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Healthy Cooking Classes on the Menu at Momentum Skills in Newcastle

Momentum Skills has teamed up with Healthworks and Newcastle University’s Nu-Food facility to help people with brain injuries and neurological conditions to develop their cooking skills in order to live healthier, more independent lives. 

Over the past eight months, eighteen service users who attend Momentum Skills’ centre in Newcastle have been attending monthly workshops in the Nu-Food kitchens and information sessions to learn more about healthy living and healthy eating.  

As well as learning practical cooking techniques and becoming better informed about healthy eating, ten of the group have also gained Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Level 1 qualifications in food hygiene during the course.

Healthworks provided experienced trainers who were able to give the Momentum service users one-to-one support during the sessions, while Newcastle University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development was delighted to assist by making its fully-equipped commercial research kitchens available for the workshops.

David Haxon, Regional Manager at Momentum Skills said: “This is the first time that we have used Nu-Food but it has been a great success from our point of view.  The clients were able to use the most up to date, state of the art facilities which are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.  We have also developed a very positive relationship with Newcastle University and built on our partnership with Healthworks in the process.

Mik Horsman, who took part in the workshops said: “They have given me inspiration – it means you go home and have a go.  I cooked some vegetables the other day, which is unusual for me.  And the socialising is important too, this is great for that.”

Professor Rob Edwards, Head of the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Newcastle University said: “Although Nu-Food is primarily a research facility, we are pleased to have had this opportunity to make our kitchens accessible to two excellent third sector organisations who are doing such important work supporting people with specific needs and helping them to maintain their independence.  

“These kinds of relationships are important to us.  Our students will be working in a variety of different environments when they graduate and we want to build links that will be mutually beneficial with a whole range of sectors.  It has also given us the opportunity, as part of Newcastle University’s commitment to improving people’s health and wellbeing, to conduct qualitative research to gauge the impact of the programme, and whether improvements could be made for future cohorts.  This is being undertaken by a student of the university’s Master’s programme in Public Health and Health Services who is carrying out interviews and focus groups with the participants.”