#HousingWeek – Cookery demos top Apex Living Centre menu
With a lively, highly skilled nutritionist, a proper demonstration working kitchen and a group of eager participants getting hands-on – Apex’s Living Centre is a recipe for success.
You don’t want your eggs sticking to the bottom of the pan,”
encouraged nutritionist Jane McClenaghan as Apex’s supported housing tenants stepped up to the plate in the new multi-purpose living centre and chopped, whisked and stirred their way to a delicious, healthy, affordable lunch in 30 minutes flat.
The fully fitted demonstration area is just one of the facilities in a service hub designed to help Apex residents and tenants meet, plan for and cope with changes and challenges to independent living.
Four of Apex’s mental health schemes participated in a project whereby a nutritionist devised a set of recipes; tenants then budgeted for the ingredients, went shopping and came to the Apex Living Centre to prepare a healthy meal.
On September 9, it was the turn of teams from Woodbank House in Omagh and Dunvale House in Derry-Londonderry to get busy.
Despite flashing camera bulbs, the participants gathered round the hob and relaxed into their tasks while sending the aroma of sizzling bacon in a lightly-spiced eggy base wafting through the building.
Equipped with a batch of well-tested, nutritiously balanced, easy to cook recipes Jane, the inspiration behind,Vital Nutrition added fun and expertise to the mix while offering practical advice to encourage positive changes to diets: simple steps like replacing salt with spices and herbs, cutting back on harmful fats and refined sugar and using methods of cooking that retain the goodness of fresh vegetables as much as possible.
Wendy Allen, support worker at Woodbank House added:
Woodbank is a supported living facility so there is assistance with everyday chores like cooking. But we encourage tenants to get active in the kitchen. They love picking up new recipes – you can see the experience is enjoyable as well as being informative and practical. And the surroundings are wonderful.
“We came by bus this morning from Omagh and as much as anything else, it’s a day out – in a different environment, meeting people and developing life skills that help the residents make better choices in what and how they cook.”
And it’s not a flash in the pan. Apex has scheduled a series of cookery demonstrations making full use of this purpose-built facility.
Apex’s Catering Manager, Eileen McIvor stressed the importance of the demonstration as a hugely important training resource:
Just look at the facilities – you have everything you need. The dining area is spacious and full of natural light. If you’re not cooking, you can look on and listen, interacting in the demonstration. Jane has a wonderful way of giving the right advice while letting the residents do it themselves. “