John Barrowman celebrates with the Age UK County Durham team
Kate Slater

National Lottery stars from County Durham celebrate on BBC tonight

One Awards, the North East based accreditation and quality assurance provider, is urging everyone in County Durham to ensure they have the TV switched on to BBC at 10.45pm tonight (Friday 19 September) for National Lottery Stars 2014 and suggests a glass of something special on the side.

Because at a glittering ceremony on TV tonight, you will see the team from Age UK County Durham partying on the red carpet with John Barrowman on National Lottery Stars 2014 after winning a major national award!

Age UK County Durham’s programme “Come Eat Together” - with an integral “Healthy Eating for Older People” Level 1 Course, accredited by One Awards - has beaten off 750 national projects and six other finalists to win Best Health Project 2014.

“Come Eat Together” is a highly innovative and successful scheme – and the only project of its kind in the UK - to tackle joint issues of inadequate nutrition and social isolation in the elderly in such an effective and beneficial way.

According to research by Age UK, 700,000 people aged over 65 say they are often lonely, while nearly a million over-65s in England suffer from untreated malnutrition.

Come Eat Together works in a number of different ways to bring people together as well as promote the benefits of a healthy diet including: cookery demonstrations; sociable, stylish dining at local restaurants; shopping clubs and dining circles where older people can come together and take turns to cook for one another in their own homes. It has an intergenerational element and provides lots of opportunities for older people to share their skills with others, including young people.

Underpinning all these activities within “Come Eat Together” is the fun, interactive course accredited by One Awards: “Healthy Eating for Older People” which explores the nutritional value of food, identifies portion sizes, storing and preparing food safely, includes demonstrations of simple, tasty and healthy recipes to try at home and offers specialist advice for those with specific dietary needs.

One Awards worked with Age UK County Durham to develop their initial ideas into this 10 hour course, delivered over five sessions in village halls and community centres with small groups of six to eight older people where everyone was encouraged to share the discussion and enjoy the sessions.

So far the scheme has run in Stanley, Shildon, Bishop Auckland and Durham and as a result of this win, is now set to run across the county for the next four years, and may even be implemented throughout the UK.

Harriet Gibbon, Chief Executive of Age UK County Durham says: “We are delighted to win the National Lottery Award for Best Health Project 2014 and value the input of One Awards into the accreditation of the integral course. Our success now enables us to continue working to tackle social isolation amongst the older population by bringing people together with food and promoting the benefits of a healthy diet.

Louise Morritt, Chief Executive of One Awards says: “We’re thrilled to have been involved in this scheme at One Awards and wish to congratulate Age UK County Durham on their amazing success. At One Awards, we accredit hundreds of units and qualifications on a wide range of subjects and this course is another example of our diversity of offer and how well we work collaboratively with organisations.

Participants have enjoyed and benefited from the scheme. Terry (72) in Stanley says: “All the sessions were enjoyable and enlightening. I have always been a fussy eater but during this course I have tried everything!”

Doreen (70) from Shildon says: “I’ve really benefited from this course. The older you get, you just get in the same rut and you need something to get you out of it. This is what they’re doing with this course. There’s a very big social aspect to it too as you’re meeting other people and finding out you’re not the only one stuck in the same rut and it makes such a difference that others are the same.”

For more information about Come Eat Together click here

For more information about One Awards click here

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