Rowans Living Well Centre offers the opportunity of a six-week Bereavement Cookery Course to give those who have lost a loved one a chance to develop cooking skills whilst in a safe space with others. The most recent course has just come to an end, and the group baked some treats for their friends and families held at South Downs College, where they have been completing the course.
The Kenwood Community Trust Fund via the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation has been funding the course since the beginning, enabling it to run eight times so far. Helen, the Legal Manager at Kenwood and member of the ‘Giving Something Back Team’, told us “food brings people together and is a fundamental part of socialising. By supporting the course, we help to give people a reason to get up in the morning when they need it most and allow them to learn to bake a cake that they could take to meet up with friends. I have always heard about the friendships that have been formed on this course, and here at Kenwood, we are delighted to support such a lovely course.”
Arnold Thompson (pictured on the right) has recently completed the course after his wife passed away. He told us “I enjoyed the course very much. We all got on really well, and it was full of great company. It got me out of the house and the chef was so lovely.”
For many, getting transport can be a struggle, Arnold was able to attend the course thanks to David, one of the volunteer drivers for the Rowans Hospice Living Well Centre. David has taken Arnold to each cooking session, which has made a huge difference for Arnold.
Arnold and the group learned to make many dishes such as apple pie, Bolognese, bacon and leek risotto, and soup. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of South Downs College Chef, Laura Skye. Laura said: “I had an amazing experience, I loved it! Supporting the course is so different from what I do normally.”
Another course attendee was Kay. Kay found out about the course from the chef, Laura, who is her neighbour. Kay already had connections to the Hospice, as she had been talking to Helen, a staff nurse, on the phone after her husband passed away. Kay had also been attending the Carers Support Group, where she received support whilst her husband was unwell.
Kay told us “The course gave me an opportunity to go out whilst being in a safe space, it doesn’t matter if you cry, everybody here is going through what I am going through. You don’t realise how much you need like-minded people around you during this time.”
Kay baked treats for her daughter and her sister, who both attended to celebrate the last day of the course. (pictured on the right).
The afternoon had a lovely atmosphere and really showed the friendships that had been built and the skills that had been learned. Sue Kell, a volunteer family support worker at the Living Well Centre, helped with the smooth running of the course. Sue said: “Many people say coming into a group like this can be nerve-racking, but everybody has said once they are here, they don’t know why they were worried. It’s a different way of supporting people, and it is a relaxed way of having conversations.”
A huge thank you to everybody who helped to support this course, and congratulations to everybody who completed the course.