Charity launches CookABILITY cooking videos to tackle learning disability obesity

Claire Small's picture
Authored by Claire Small
Posted Friday, December 28, 2018 - 12:29pm

People with learning disabilities are tackling obesity by making YouTube cooking videos as part of a pioneering new project from the disability charity United Response.

CookABILITY, which launched in Paignton, Devon, aims to encourage people with learning disabilities, Down’s syndrome and autism to cook for themselves and eat healthy food.

Research* shows disabled people are more likely to have poor diets and not exercise enough. In fact, over 80% of adults with learning disabilities fail to meet official minimum recommended levels for physical activity.

United Response hopes to make cooking simple, easy and healthy. They are making a dozen easy-to-understand recipes, including spaghetti bolognese, chilli con carne and quorn paella, broken down step-by-step. All the videos – which can be viewed on the charity’s YouTube page – have been made with the help of people with learning disabilities, for people with learning disabilities.

A new video will be broadcast every week.

Alan Tilley, Area Manager for United Response ROC Wellbeing in the South West, said: “Obesity is a ticking time bomb which will hit people with learning disabilities particularly hard if we fail to take decisive intervention and don’t give people control over what they eat.

“In our experience, people with learning disabilities can struggle to eat a balanced diet. Often cooking a meal from scratch at home can seem daunting and so people end up instead eating ready meals or fast food high in fat, sugar and calories.

“In order to tackle this major health problem, we have to be bold and show people – through our online videos – how to cook with confidence. It’s crucial we empower people to make informed choices.”

One of the star cooks in the debut video is Stephen Jenkins from Paignton.

The 26-year-old who has a learning disability said: “The food tasted delicious and was very nice.

“It wasn’t really that hard to make. It was actually easy. Eating was my favourite part though!”

The team behind the project are aiming to reach out to thousands of people supported by United Response and hope to reach many more supported by other organisations.

Videos were recorded at United Response’s ROC Wellbeing service in Devon. The service also offers people with learning disabilities the chance to learn new and exciting skills and to gain accredited learning qualifications at the same time. ROC has been previously known as Robert Owen Communities.

United Response is a top 100 national charity that provides person-centred support to around 3,000 adults and young people with learning disabilities, mental health needs or physical disabilities – including some of the most vulnerable people in the UK.

To learn more about how United Response is striving to help improve the lives of people with disabilities, visit www.unitedresponse.org.uk

Easy Spaghetti Bolognese | Accessible Recipes for People with Learning Disabilities