Baking a Difference is an exciting, innovative new trial project from Learning for the Fourth Age, in collaboration with local community business Planet Leicester Bakers. It uses the many activities and skills involved in hand making fresh bread. The project is being developed in two care homes and a sheltered housing setting where L4A already works.
So far we have been delighted with how well the activities have been received and the many smiles it has brought to residents’ faces! Each programme is four sessions long and is being adjusted to be as interesting, challenging and achievable as possible for all who would like to take part. We’ve done scientific experiments with gluten and yeast, shaped different breads, and had a lot of fun with sprinkles and decorating techniques! At the end of the programme we gather all the photos together and the residents create displays of their work to show visitors and relatives what they have achieved.
The sessions also give people the chance to talk about memories of bread in their lives and the 1970s bread strikes are definitely a strong memory. Where residents have limited physical abilities we’ve noticed that they enjoy watching and reminiscing or taking part with support from volunteers. However much they get their hands sticky, residents’ attention has been held for the full length of the sessions: a hugely positive result.
There is lots of choice given to residents as to what they want to do and work with and even those not sure about the activities at first have eventually become involved and enjoyed the simple joys of working bread dough and creating something unique and special to them. Indeed, the physical action of working bread dough has, as is so often the case, proved to have therapeutic qualities. Residents have enjoyed eating freshly baked bread, brought in by Planet Leicester Bakers and sometimes shaped and baked during the session, resulting in the lovely aroma of fresh, real bread in their homes.
As always the work is dependent on the support of staff at the homes and we have been delighted with how positive people have been about the project. It certainly has shown that fresh bread has the power to bring calm and smiles to people and their communities.
For more information about Planet Leicester Bakers, please contact Michelle Stratford, the Founder of Planet Leicester Bakers or visit their website: www.planetleicesterbakers.co.uk