Bringing generations together: award-winning work in Edinburgh
Good food is at the heart of happy, healthy communities; bringing people of all ages together.
Since 2012, the Edinburgh Food for Life Partnership has been bringing together experts from some of the City's biggest organisations to make good food part of daily life for everyone. A key partner is City of Edinburgh Council, which has made good food a priority in all of the City's schools, and many of its care settings.
At Inchview Care Home in Edinburgh, we've take this a step further, and have been working with them to use food as a way to enrich the lives of their residents - with some wonderful results.
For starters, we encouraged them do what they needed to so they could get the Silver Food for Life Catering Mark Award, including taking residents to visit a local organic farm. We connected them with Liberton High School, their local secondary school; bringing pupils and residents together with food as a common theme: creating a cookery book of residents’ recipes and sharing food together at special lunches. Building a wheelchair-accessible polytunnel in the grounds of the home has given residents some great new opportunities, helping to grow food that’s cooked in the home’s own kitchen.
Engaging with a new environment has helped some residents with dementia regain old memories and create new ones – resulting in the project winning a Dementia Scotland Award earlier this year.
When we checked in with the home’s manager recently, she told us: “I don’t know if you and your organisation realise how much pleasure the polytunnel and garden gives our residents, and the smiles on their faces when they’ve been working in it.'
Pupils and staff from Liberton High have benefited too. They were delighted to be able to explore the journey of their food - 'from soil to plate' - in partnership with staff and residents from Inch View as they could see how this would add real value to their curricular learning. Craft, Design & Technology pupils worked to build doors for Inchview's polytunnel, whilst the Art Department ran a competition for S2 pupils to design the cover of the Inch View residents' cookery book. Pupils from the school's Food for Life Action Group (FLAG) worked with their school cook to investigate nutrition for older people and consider the kind of food they might like to eat. They then designed menus and invitations for Inch View residents, decorated the school dining hall, and cooked up a fabulous range of dishes for their guests. Three generations then sat down to eat together, sharing their experiences and getting to know each other.
There have been some unexpected benefits too - one pupil from Liberton High has been inspired to consider a career in catering, and another pupil who has expressed an interest in care work has been offered work experience at Inch View as a result of this partnership. Pupils on the Food for Life Action Group (FLAG) also used their hard work on this initiative as part of the evidence for their Youth Achievement Awards.
We're not going to be resting on our laurels, however! Future events being planned include the on-going sharing of produce grown in Inch View’s polytunnel and the school’s raised beds, and a literacy project involving the school librarian, Liberton High pupils, and residents from Inch View. Watch this space for more details!
The project has been a real team effort and it couldn’t have taken place without the support of the Head Teacher, school cook, librarian and geography teacher at Liberton HS, as well as the management team and volunteers at Inch View. It’s a great example of generations working together and celebrating through food.