Students and staff in the Health and Science Faculty at Fareham College have been working in partnership with a local charity, Andover Mind, to deliver six weeks long Dementia Friendly Cookery Groups.
The sessions, held in Avenue 141, the College’s silver service professional restaurant, provide carer givers and service users with a welcome break and supportive environment to try new recipes and have fun. Service users with mild cognitive impairments or dementia are supported by second-year level 3 Health and Social Care students enabling care providers to meet other regional carers over coffee.
Held in six-week courses throughout the academic year, the project supports students in developing their communication skills and enhancing their knowledge and understanding of theory. Dementia and other cognitive impairments are complex and challenging conditions to manage; experiences such as these ensure students leave the College with the skills required to become effective and highly-skilled practitioners in the industry.
The courses have seen positive results for staff, students and users. Pam Jacques, whose husband John attends, commented, “The cookery group has improved John’s self-esteem and confidence. He really enjoys working with the students; thank you for your support and kindness”.
A representative for Andover Mind, Catherine Green, said, “Being able to offer the cooking group to our service users has been really valuable to us – which we couldn’t do without the purpose-built facilities. Not only are the activities themselves stimulating, but the company of the wonderful students has brought so much joy to our carers and cared for. Both students and those living with dementia have built confidence in the kitchen and improved communication skills. It is always a pleasure to visit the College.”
Curriculum Area Manager for Health and Science, Stephanie Couper, added, “The Dementia Friendly Cookery Group has been a fantastic opportunity to work with Andover Mind, providing a fun and engaging activity making use of the outstanding facilities at Fareham College. Social activities and interactions have had to stop for many due to the pandemic, and it is great to bring these back in a safe environment. Now more than ever, it is important to understand the mutual benefit of intergenerational initiatives such as this group.”
Outstanding practical sessions provide students with an invaluable opportunity to hone their skills in an environment akin to real life. Students studying Health Science and Early Years qualifications, including full time, T Level and part time adult education courses, learn in state-of-the-art facilities due to a £1 million investment at the Bishopsfield Road Campus. Equipment and facilities include; a two-bed simulation ward, sport and exercise science lab, indoor and outdoor classrooms and a range of practical tools and resources