Connecting to Community through Cooking

Every second Friday, for 2 years now, Aftercare Maitland’s Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) program has been bringing together clients (all living with the effects of mental illness) to participate in a cooking group run out of the local Hunter headspace kitchen.

PHaMs Maitland’s Team Leader, Barbara, said “the cooking group has been hugely successful.”

“We’ve had consistent attendance from clients and progress has been made with them using transport independently to get there,” she said.

The-Hunter-Post-Cooking-for-ManyThe cooking group is a testament to importance Aftercare places on building relationships and connections to the community. Barbara said, “many friendships have been formed – people helping each other out with the bus timetable and meeting up for coffee independently.”

“Our group is open to the whole community and we have a participant who attends regularly with her carer, as well as another participant from another NGO service.”

What is great, she said, is that “people learn to communicate, share ideas about menus, cooking and more importantly support each other.”

Through the cooking group, Aftercare has also been very successful in establishing a strong working partnership with Hunter headspace who allow the PHaMs service to facilitate the group on their premises at no cost. Their support has been invaluable to making this successful.

Earlier this month the cooking group welcomed local MP, Robyn Parker, and the NSW Minister for Mental Health, Kevin Humphri

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