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Cookery sessions provide vital life skills to people with learning disabilities in South Tyneside

Adults with learning disabilities in South Tyneside have been developing their cooking skills thanks to weekly ‘Cooking with Confidence’ sessions. The sessions, ran by Your Voice Counts, were funded thanks to a £4,889 grant from the Prime Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Using the funding, Your Voice Counts worked with 75 people with learning disabilities aged 19 to 64 facing social and financial disadvantage. A majority of them lived independently, however, many lacked basic cooking skills and were living on microwave meals and struggling to afford the food they wanted. Using accessible equipment and easy read recipe cards, they were shown how they can cook affordable, nutritious meals at home.

Su Legg, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation said:

“Cooking with Confidence has created a fantastic supportive environment where people with learning disabilities can learn a valuable life skill. Not only this but it’s become an important contact point for an often-isolated group of people”.

Lindsay Henderson, Head of Communities, Your Voice Counts, explained the impact ‘Cooking with Confidence’ has made:

“Many of us take for granted the life skills it takes to be able to shop for, prepare and cook a meal from scratch. Having these skills can help us live a long and healthy life -something that people with learning disabilities too often miss out on.

“With support from our fantastic team, I have witnessed people’s confidence, pride and friendships grow week on week as their skills improve, and it’s really quite astonishing the difference it has made to people’s lives. We are so proud of this amazing project as well as everyone who has taken part in it so thank you Prime Fund and Community Foundation, wholeheartedly, for supporting this vital piece of work”.

Since the sessions began 29 of the participants have since cooked a low cost hot meal at home for the first time, five people have shared their own recipes that they have created, and three people have taught preparing a meal to others in the group.

Your Voice Counts continues to offer Cooking with Confidence sessions to people with learning disabilities at St Mark and St Cuthbert’s church in South Shields. Visit Contact us | yourvoicecounts ( to get in touch to find out more about taking part.

For more information about funding opportunities at the Community Foundation visit


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