Power of food

Headway and The Children’s Trust both run cooking activities that help people who have had a brain injury.

  At Headway East’s bi-monthly supper clubs in East London the members, who are all adults recovering from brain injury, are allocated tasks in the kitchen such as preparation, tasting the food as they cook, plating up food then serving it. Meanwhile in Surrey at The Children’s Trust children who are recovering from a brain injury have a Bake Off group where they can try out new or old methods throughout the baking and this involves a variety of steps, techniques and following instructions. This month The Independent wrote about Headway’s supper club and spoke to Laura Owens, Headway’s Communications and Development Manager. She said: “One of the biggest challenges that face our members after brain injury is memory. “That manifests itself in different ways in short term or long term memory. But actually one of the great ways that people still access memory is through food.” Kitchen projects lead Thomas Alexander manages the cooking session. Dishes might be favourites parents once cooked for the members or ones the members prepared for their own children. Owens continued: “Food is a really good way for them [the members] to reach back into good times and actually look to create something good out of their situation.” The evenings includes art, music and storytelling performances by members as well as the meal itself. The food is enjoyed by the group’s members as well as families, carers and friends. The Independent reported that each evening “requires a massive amount of planning, hard work and effort” but the effort is worth it as members relish the event.” One member said: “I’m always trying to look for the positive things around the things I do. If can lay some of that positivity at someone else’s feet then I feel great.” At The Children’s Trust the children bake together in a group of one to four children allowing them to try different methods in a safe environment. Mandie Geddes, Occupational Therapy and Equipment Technician at The Children's Trust, said: “The group is designed to encourage children to give different cooking methods a go and problem solve with their peers. The group also encourages communication between the children and team work.”
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