What’s on the line? | Cooking with Refugee Action

This week, we continued our work with Blind Veterans UK and supported Purple Tuesday by visiting one of the veterans, Les, at his home to talk about his lived experiences.

Les Brown enlightened us about his service during the war and the lasting effects this has had on his health, including being infected by DDT, a concert poison that exerts its effect by disorganising the nervous system, which has left him with a lifelong stomach condition. Les kindly allowed us to film him and also gave some insight into how he manages on a day to day basis with the sight loss such as going shopping and preparing drinks for himself.

“The senior ladies always have time for you in Tescos and she’ll allocate some youngster to go with you and do whatever it is you can’t find. It’s easy.

It’s now a destination, it’s not a shopping trip, it’s where people go. If I can go every day, I get through the week because with that and the singing, the week goes by.”

On Thursday, we attended the Annual General Meeting of Refugee Action Colchester – a voluntary organisation working with refugees, asylum seekers and people with no recourse to public funds. Their goal is to encourage successful integration into a new society through empowerment, education and employment. They provided a cooking based exercise at our recent Healthwatch Essex team day, and have launched their own cookbook. We are looking forward to working closely with RAC over the coming months in an upcoming project.

We have also been in discussion with the Dementia Action Alliance in West Essex whose focus is to provide and improve services and wellbeing for those living with dementia and their carers. We always welcome hearing about the lived experiences of people affected by dementia and are able to offer information and signposting to a variety of support services.

On Thursday, we had an Information stand at Mencap Information Marketplace event in Chelmsford, where a number of organisations gathered to provide information and support for people with learning disabilities and their carers.

As always, the team have been answering the helpline this week and offering information and signposting to people coping with diagnoses of diabetes, issues around homelessness and difficulties accessing medication dispensed directly from hospital. If these, or any other issues are affecting you, give us a call on 0800 300 1895, text us on 07712 395 398 or email [email protected] and we will do our best to help.

Sharon Westfield de Cortez
Information & Signposting Lead