Food Buddies was a project developing peer support for people with dementia and for carers, with a focus on aspects of food and keeping well. It involved helping peer support work well for people across a range of situations and stages of dementia and caring.
Food Buddies was a way for people to encourage and support each other around food.
- It starts with the concerns and priorities of a group of people in their community.
- Each project builds on the assets of that community – the experience and skills of all the people involved, professional expertise and the resources in the local area.
- There is reciprocity, rather than some people receiving a service from others.
- The approach focuses on supporting and building relationships.
- Food Buddies aims to be sustainable and for the impact to continue beyond a project that gets activities underway in an area.
- Food Buddies complements what other food projects and other social inclusion projects do, and works in partnership with them.
- It is for all older people who want some company or support around food – shopping, cooking, eating and enjoying meals together.
- It includes people who are not looking after themselves so well, such as following a bereavement or when they have health problems, including people who have dementia and their carers.
It started in October 2015 with funding over 5 years from Life Changes Trust. The project started in 2 locations in Borders, then stretched to reach other locations including Falkirk.
Food Buddies ended in 2020, with lasting local effects through the dementia-inclusive cafes and relationships of mutual learning and support.
What we're doing
- Bringing people together for activities like cooking classes, food art sessions, and sessions on adapting to people’s changing food needs
- Encouragement and support for people living with dementia and carers on ways to look after yourself
- One-to-one peer support for people who prefer this and to help people follow up on the group activities
- Long-term support as people’s circumstances change for people who want this
A second aim was to share the experience of the people involved in the project:
- Raising awareness about the benefits of peer support among people affected by dementia
- Reaching more people through Tips, recipe books and the like highlighting practical tips on what can help as well as raising awareness
- Raising awareness among shops, food producers and retailers on what they can do to help.
The impact it's having so far
Food Buddies has made lasting impacts on local dementia-inclusive access to food support and opportunities to talk about and enjoy food. The changes include:
- Local cafes and organisations have more knowledge and understanding around accessibility and differences in how we enjoy food as we age
- We shared dementia-inclusive cafe resources, co-created with people living with dementia, older people, family and friends, carers and cafes
- We shared tips from people living with dementia around the kinds of food support that make a difference
- Food Buddies adapted to Covid-19, sharing resources for supporting neighbours with food
In the last year Borders Food Buddies has ‘branched’ out to grow a separate offshoot project, Garden Buddies. This project came about in a very natural, organic way when we met people living with dementia who were attending a local day centre.
Garden Buddies is a project where people of all ages come together to share activities such as gardening, playing games or just chatting.
This project was made possible by support from: