Doug learns zoom for Friendships through Food course

Doug is a member of Winchester Go LD. He is a kind, sociable and independent man of 57 years. Doug lives alone in a one bedroom flat; he moved to Winchester in 1995 after the death of his mother. Doug’s favourite foods are fish or mince – like shepherd’s pie and bolognaise sauce.

He does not drink alcohol, except on special occasions such as Christmas. Doug is not very active, he doesn’t enjoy going outside on his own – but he did really enjoy seeing his friends at the Friendship through Food outdoor summer picnics. His hobbies include doing jigsaw puzzles and he particularly likes watching the Chasers get beaten on the TV quiz program, The Chase.

Doug has Type 2 diabetes, which is poorly controlled. He has some support from the hospital and he’s been given dietary advice, which he sometimes lacks the motivation to follow. He knows to avoid sugary foods such as pastries.

He has worked part time (4 hours a day, five days a week) at Marks and Spencer for 25 years. He enjoys his job and it keeps him motivated. Doug receives 2 hours of Adult Services social care support each week through a local provider, You Trust. He does his own shopping and cooking, with some help from You Trust. He has been furloughed since the beginning of lockdown. Lockdown has been a very difficult time for Doug – lack of structure and purpose to his day from being furloughed and the lack of available face to face social activities through Covid enforced social distancing has caused social isolation and loneliness. The Covid crisis forced Doug’s support to be moved from face-to-face to telephone support during lockdown, this has had an impact on Doug’s wellbeing. He likes his support workers and is pleased to see them again now. Doug does not find it easy to talk about his problems.

Prior to lockdown Doug did not use the Internet, he was not on social media and he had never heard of Zoom. Since the Friendship through Food Zoom cookery course he has learned to use Zoom and he explains that it’s good for ‘…finding out what’s happening and staying connected..’. He had to overcome some technical difficulties in logging onto Zoom through a smartphone, this was overcome by a visit from Winchester Go LD volunteer, Betty, who lives close to Doug and was able to visit him immediately prior to the course to help him log on.

Although Doug is capable in the kitchen he told us that ‘….I am not very enthusiastic about cooking on my own but I am good at it…’. He finds it difficult to get motivated on his own and he is lonely. The weekly course structure and the shared dining experience at the end of the cooking were really beneficial to Doug.

When asked which part of the Zoom Cookery Course he enjoyed the most, Doug says ‘….I enjoy the social aspect of cooking and making yourself busy. Doing the shopping and unpacking the ingredients were the best parts. I also really enjoyed being in a group…’. Mary from FirstBite provided participants with the ingredients and recipes on the morning of each cookery lesson.

When asked whether he would recommend the course to other Winchester Go LD members, Doug says ‘…Yes, I’d tell them to give it a go! And can you let me know when I can do the course again…’.

Doug has been invited to attend as an extra participant at our final 3 week cookery course in recognition of the challenges that he faces and the enormously positive this experience has had on him. Winchester Go LD look towards working with his support provider to help provide Doug with a day planner and weekly meal planner to help him regain structure to his timetable and to help encourage him to continue to enjoy his cooking and healthy eating.