Funding Success Stories (Westminster): Food Thoughts

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Innovation Fund Feedback from Jude Thompson

Jude was awarded the Innovation Fund to run Cooking lessons for local residents that were in recovery and wanted to engage in purposeful activity.

After receiving the innovation fund; Jude compiled the Teaching Book on ‘cooking, healthy, tasty, colourful, food budgeting and wellbeing; derived from his own research and own experiences.

The book comprised of six main recipes with the combination of ten smaller meals, and ten snacks within a budget. The book included information on stocking up a larder, basic kitchen equipment and tips including time-saving, budget cooking and health, as well as handouts on food nutrition relevant to the menus of the day. There were also wellbeing tips which included a weekly handout with one exercise a day from Qui Gong.

Food Thoughts was a six-week, one day a week programme. The sessions ran each Thursday 10:00 am-13:00 pm, each week resulted in a meal being prepared and eaten by the participants. Jude also went through the handouts with the group, including the tips and exercises.

Jude reported that the number of people attending each week was between 6 – 14 people, of which there were approximately 8 regulars. Six of these attended all sessions. Jude stated that some of the participants were extremely enthusiastic and showed interest in extending this type of programme to other outlets.

Jude felt that by planning and putting different combinations of people to work together, it sparked some interesting conversations and people connected well with each other. He said that at the end of each day, the end product of sitting down to a complete meal together was very satisfying and seeing empty plates and smiling faces, showed the participants appreciation. Any excess food was hastily boxed and taken home.

Jude felt that talking to and reaching out to the charities Turning Point, St Mungo’s and Shepherds House in the Tri-Boroughs was beneficial as they contacted clients and promoted the project. He said the response was great and clients came from all three charities. Shepherds House actually brought their clients to the sessions.

Jude has arranged for an additional session to be delivered, which will be videoed by Turning Point will be showing one of the classes; with further classes in the pipeline. Jude reported that the project has been effective as it has triggered so much interest in running future programmes and he has appointments in place to create future programmes for different charities within the Tri Boroughs.

Jude said that it was great to hear participants commenting on their understanding of what they can buy food-wise can create different meals, ultimately saving them money and having no waste.

Some quotes from participants were:

I now know how to make food”.

“It is easier than you think it is to cook”.

“I liked the cooking and interaction as I was able to make new connections”.

“I was able to learn new techniques so I can make things for myself as I have learnt new skills. I like things from fresh and I can now make them for myself”.

“I learned some useful techniques and tips”.

Jude stated that his plans for the future already include another booking with Rugby Portobello Trust School and he is talking to four other charities of which two are connected to St Mungo’s, one is with the homeless and one is with Employment and Wellbeing Service, again all within the Tri Borough.

Jude fed back that “I am really pleased that more and more people want this as a possible continuous course. I loved the fact that people were enjoying themselves and learning how to further help their mental health through these classes. Seeing the joy on the resident’s faces gives me a real buzz and satisfaction”.

Jude stated that he was very proud to have been asked by Turning Point to provide catering for a buffet at the Peer Graduation at Kensington Palace, which has also sparked an idea, which is now in progress, using clients to create an internal catering company for Turning Point.


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