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Fit as a Fiddle programme

Published by Alex Welford
Healthy Lifestyles Coordinator
Age Concern Surrey
Telephone 01483 503414

Age Concern is Big Lottery Funded for the "fit as a fiddle" programme. "fit as a fiddle" will fund 8 sessions of healthy eating and cookery classes for lone, older men.

Fit as a Fiddle programme

Our delivery partners are...

Age Concern Epsom and Ewell and the Longmead Centre


The project is located in...





The people helped are...

Lone, older men with little or no experience of cooking who are not currently attending the Longmead Centre.


What they have said is...

"This course is just what I wanted - it really fulfills the need and has given me confidence to try some new recipes."

We set up the project because...

•· There are many widowers within the community struggling to cope with loneliness and cookery. They have been brought to our attention by local services and agencies.

•· Healthy eating also impacts on the ability to undertake physical activity successfully and the maintenance of good mental health.

The difference this project makes is...

This project aims to improve older people's cooking skills, offer them nutritional advice, encourage them to eat a varied, balanced diet and to introduce them to the activities at the Longmead Centre.

What we did or are doing

"fit as a fiddle" is providing 10 sessions of Healthy Eating and Cookery to 15 lone, older men at the Longmead Centre. One instructor is used, who is a qualified Food Technology teacher with years of experience of teaching teenagers with special needs, adults and groups of older men. She comes with her own cooker, crockery, food and disposable plates, as well as recipes and leaflets for participants to take away with them. Menu selections and discussions are based on the responses from a short questionnaire that participants fill in prior to attending - dietary, religious and capabilities are all considered. Topics covered include special diets, five a day, food labeling, food safety, low salt, low fat, shopping economically and hydration.


The sessions started with a social meeting that was an introductory day for everyone to meet and find out more about the project, followed by 4 weeks of talks on nutrition with food demonstrations. There was a mid - week break for another social meeting with lunch and food quizzes, and the project is now in its final 4 weeks of talks and demonstrations.


Key to the success of this project is a volunteer coordinator who has been involved in the planning of the sessions from the very beginning. He was involved in recruiting the participants and building a relationship with them prior to the sessions starting and in coordinating their transportation and all of the logistics. At the sessions, he meets and greets everyone, helps set up the room, takes the registers, encourages the participants and assists the instructor where required.

We chose this method because...

•· The sessions can be tailored to the needs of the participants from those who are immobile and unable to boil an egg, to those who are mobile and able to prepare a meal.

•· While learning to cook, participants are educated on how to eat more healthily, economically and safely.

•· It has opened the door to the Longmead Centre to those who were not previously using it.

•· The sessions are sociable and fun with lots of interaction amongst the participants, food tastings, and questions and answers with the instructor.


All participants complete a monitoring form at the start of the project and an evaluation form at the final session.

This project helped to deliver...

Sociable, fun, healthy lifestyles for the over 60s.

Additional information or comments?

Long-Term Sustainability:

The volunteer coordinator acts as a link for the group and has named them "the fiddlers". He plans to encourage them to keep in touch, to start using the Longmead Centre, and to continue cooking for each other in their homes.













Print this page
Lead Organisation Age Concern Surrey
Geographical Area Surrey
Outcomes Community cohesion, Improving health, Increasing participation
Beneficiary Age Older People (Over 60)
Beneficiary Groups Socially isolated older people
Type of activity  
Primary Theme Eating for Health
Secondary Themes Healthy Weight



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